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Current Issue: Spring 2014
Children and the Mind/Body Connection: Mindfulness-Based Practice with Children Who Have Cancer
by Claire Schoen
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In recent years, clinicians have increased their use of mindfulness-based practice and have extended its use to the treatment of adults who have cancer. Although research has demonstrated the physical and psychological benefits of these practices with adult cancer patients and with children in the general population, there is little research specifically on the use of mindfulness-based practices with children who have cancer. This article first explores existing research on the use of mindfulness-based practices with both adults who have cancer and children in the general population. The article then provides examples of cancer organizations using mindfulness-based practices in the treatment of children who have cancer. Last, the author provides recommendations for group mindfulness-based programs designed for children who have cancer in outpatient or community-based settings and discusses the role of social workers in facilitating the research and implementation of such programs.

The Intersection of Corporate Social Responsibility and the Non-Profit Industrial Complex: Exploitative Child Labor in Côte d’Ivoire’s Chocolate Industry
by Gabrielle Cole
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This article examines the role of the chocolate industry in the exploitation of children on cocoa farms in Cote d'Ivoire. Under the guise of corporate social responsibility (CSR), the chocolate industry has used its power in the United States to shape policy and program-level initiatives to address the worst forms of child labor, while protecting its business interests and disregarding poverty as the root cause of the problem. The non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) limits the ability of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) to effectively implement programs that address poverty. The increasing CSR funding to INGOs prevents them from holding the chocolate industry accountable. Further, this article discusses the unique contribution of the social work profession in creating the social and structural change required to mitigate the negative consequences of the relationship between CSR and the NPIC.

Undocumented Immigrants and Policy Advocacy: Reasserting the Activist Roots of Social Work
by Tatum Stewart
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The social work profession is positioned to play a critical role in redefining policies surrounding historically marginalized immigrants in the United States. The creation of the concept of the "undocumented immigrant" reflects an embedded discriminatory aspect of immigration policy, and becomes reinforced in policies that actively dehumanize undocumented immigrants, inhibiting their social integration. When the social origins of law cease to be recognized, the legal concept of the "undocumented immigrant" becomes understood as the result of law-breaking by the individual rather than as a socially constructed concept. Undocumented immigrants acknowledge that they have adapted to an American way of life, yet they do not feel they belong. Undocumented youth experience a shift from feeling a sense of belonging to feeling marginalized. The code of ethics shared by all social workers provides an ideal foundation for social workers to pursue roles as social justice activists. This paper makes two specific recommendations. First, national social work organizations should emphasize the history of social activism in social work. Second, social workers should develop skills to assert political views that embrace policy goals and advance social justice. By enhancing their capacity for policy change, social workers will realign with the profession's activist roots.

Global Trade Limitations to HIV Medication Access in Developing Countries
by Yixuan Wang
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International trade and patent laws pose monetary and logistical challenges to all countries affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their abilities to access the most current and effective treatments. The development of international patent law applicable to medications has undergone significant changes since the 1990’s under The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established by the World Trade Organization (WTO). Case studies of China, India and Brazil’s implementation of pharmaceutical patent protection reveal the limitations of TRIPS and its subsequently recognized flexibilities. Although the goal of these flexibilities is to allow for greater access to medications, they fall short in reaching the universally accepted goal of a right to health.

Stepping Out of the Shadows: Non-Suicidal Self-Injury as Its Own Diagnostic Category
by Lindsay Cohen
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Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is the repetitive and intentional act of causing injury to one's own body without suicidal intent. NSSI is an extremely prevalent and pervasive phenomenon, affecting between 13.0 to 23.2% of individuals in the general population. There are significant negative outcomes that may result from engaging in NSSI including risk of serious physical injury, becoming addicted to the behavior, experiencing stigmatization and social rejection, and an increased risk for suicidality. There is also sufficient evidence in the literature supporting the distinction between NSSI and suicide as well as NSSI and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Creating a distinct diagnosis of NSSI in the DSM has many positive clinical implications such as developing a tailored treatment for individuals who engage in such behaviors, stimulating further research about NSSI, improving communication regarding behaviors of self-injury, and bringing awareness to this widespread behavior. This article evaluates each of these benefits to demonstrate that NSSI deserves to be a distinct diagnostic entity in the DSM.

Columbia School of Social Work Can Better Support Development of Effective Writing Skills
by Editorial Board  
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The Editorial Board of the Columbia Social Work Review holds a firm conviction that social workers must possess advanced written communication skills to serve individuals and communities and advance the field as a whole. To pair this conviction with action, the Board conducted a survey to explore student experiences with writing in graduate studies at Columbia School of Social Work (CSSW). The surveyed students agreed that effective writing skills are imperative for social work professionals, and they overwhelmingly wanted the school to do more to help them develop these skills. Although students highly valued writing, their enthusiasm did not always translate into perceptions of adequate writing instruction, exposure to diverse writing assignments, or adequate institutional support. As editors of a student-run journal, we believe in the value of cogent writing to our field, and we feel compelled to share this student perspective as a contribution to a meaningful discussion on writing at CSSW. This editorial uses student opinion from survey data to underscore the value of critical writing skills to the social work profession, and recommends ways that school supports can be enhanced to match student need. The goal of this editorial is to enrich the scholarly and professional nature of CSSW.