Bruce Reeves Appointed to CSWE Council


Bruce Reeves

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News Article

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Campus Unit

College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines


Bruce Reeves, Assistant Professor and Director of Field Education, was appointed to serve a three year term on the Council of Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity and Expression. The council, in concert with the Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice, advises the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Board of Directors on policy and programmatic matters related to gender expression and sexual orientation. CSWE is the accrediting body of Social Work Programs in the United States.

According to CSWE, "The council promotes the development of social work curriculum materials and faculty growth opportunities relevant to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and the experiences of individuals who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or two-spirit." Bruce is looking forward to attending his first meeting this October at the annual CSWE meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Bruce believes that his experience in field education, along with his background in rural services, made him an exceptional candidate for appointment to the council. "Social Workers are good at talking about diversity and inclusivity, especially for the LGBT population, but it's still too easy to not understand the importance of LGBT issues and the resulting social injustices that can arise."

In addition to field placement, Bruce supports organizing curriculum content at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to focus on LGBT inclusion and diversity. He knows firsthand that UND's Social Work programs include education around LBGT issues and are infused into the curriculum. "I am proud of our department. Education and discussion on LGBT issues are part of many courses. Both our undergraduate and graduate programs place a great deal of importance on this."

"As a profession, we value social justice. LGBT issues are currently at the forefront across the country. Marriage equality and the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) are just a few examples of the many policies impacting LGBT communities in today's society."

Although there is much work to be done, Bruce believes that raising awareness of LGBT populations and concerns within the health care and human service fields is a critical first step that must occur to improve inclusion and address the unmet needs of this population. Health and service providers need to be aware of the specific issues that face LGBT populations in order to better serve them. This includes physical and mental health as well as environmental factors. "The effects of stigma make LGBT youth more vulnerable to mental health problems such as depression, and substance abuse. LBGT youth are 20-40% more likely to contemplate or attempt suicide when compared to heterosexual youth, and between 25-40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT. Some are homeless by choice, others are forced into homelessness after being kicked out of their home."

Bruce also spends time working in both North Dakota and western Minnesota educating service providers, especially in the child welfare system, on providing culturally competent care to the LGBT community.