Abstracts of Volume Eight of Computers in Human Services, 1991

Volume 8 (1/2), 1991

Special issue on Computers for Social Change and Community Organizing. Edited by John Downing, Rob Fasano, Particia A. Freidland, Michael F. McCullough, Terry Mizrahi, and Jeremy J. Shapiro.

Democratic Questions for the Computer Age by Michael F. McCullough

ABSTRACT: This article is an overview and evaluation of the main potential applications of computer technology to enhance participatory democracy.

The Environment and Community Right to Know: Information for Participation by Benjamin A. Goldman

ABSTRACT: The Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act of 1986 (EPCRA) is discussed in terns of its origins, provisions and potential outcomes in community action against toxic and environmental hazards. Particularly investigated is the participatory information policy dimension of this new legislation.

Women, Computers, and Social Change by Beva Eastman

ABSTRACT: Belenky, Clinchy, Goldberger, and Tarule's research and data on gender differences in learning are used to introduce some experiences of autonomous women's group use of computers. Database applications and telecommunications uses are reviewed from a wide variety of different projects. Follow-up information is provided.

Microcomputers in Political Campaigns: Lessons from the Jackson Campaign in New York by Bruce Bernstein

ABSTRACT: Microcomputer information systems are a popular and effective tool in political elections. The problems posed by elections to designers and developers are unique, due to their short duration and crisis-oriented atmosphere. Formal systems methodologies become more rather than less intense in such an environment. The Jesse Jackson campaign in the 1988 New York State Presidential primary is examined for lessons in systems design methodology. Voter targeting is identified as a key automation area, and particular targeting techniques are discussed.

Marketing Social Service Programs Using Political Campaign Technology by Peter Bynum

ABSTRACT: This article discusses how human services can use strategies similar to those used in political campaigns to identify needs and attitudes among the public, and to promote the agency's services. It gives specific examples of how such strategies and technologies could be used by your organization.

Using Computers in Community Educational Programs by Seth Chaiklin

ABSTRACT: This article offers some theoretical and practical advice for using computers in educational settings. The primary focus is out-of-school settings for school-aged children; however, many of the points are applicable to other educational settings and for other ages. The primary message is that computers should be viewed as tools to help students explore and understand particular educational content. The article discusses several principles and guidelines for using computers this way. It also offers practical suggestions about staff development and funding of computer-based educational programs. It concludes with some reflections about a perspective from which to continue developing useful applications.

Computers and Community Organizing: Issues and Examples from New York City by Alison Cordero

ABSTRACT: This paper examines some specific computer uses undertaken by community organizers in New York City, and identifies some of the common issues and problems which have emerged. Primarily based on the author's experiences working at St. Nicholas' Neighborhood Preservation Corporation, a non-profit community development corporation in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it also reflects some of the related experiences of other community organizers as of 1989. Uses covered include: communications (mailing list and newsletters) and databases on crime and housing. Issues and problems discussed include both those created by use of microcomputers within the organization and broader issues of public data use and access.

Breaking from Big Brother: Computerizing Small, Government-Funded Organizations by Leonard Rodberg

ABSTRACT: Small non-profit organizations have difficulty computerizing their operations. This article describes such a process of computerization and software development carried out over the past several years to computerize the community-based organizations which receive funds from the New York State Weatherization Assistance Program. The process was based in and run by the local agencies and was attuned to the needs of these local organizations. Guidelines are suggested for keeping such a process decentralized, democratic and interactive.

Warm Hearts/Cold Type: Desktop Publishing Arrives by Felix Kramer

ABSTRACT: The practicalities and legends of desktop publishing are explored in detail, based upon extensive experience of working on contracts for non-profit institutions in New York City.

Computerizing the Small Non-Profit: Computer Consultants' Perspective by Rob Fasano and Jeremy J. Shapiro

ABSTRACT: Small non-profit organizations that computerize their operations face a number of problems because of their lack of financial resources and technically trained personnel. A group of computer consultants discuss typical experiences of computerization that bear on organizational and personnel issues, the organization's relation to consultants, and training. Factors emphasized are the importance of using informal computer champions; management involvement; obtaining second opinions on consultants' recommendations; paying consultants after satisfactory results are obtained; and training staff in small, incremental steps growing out of their job functions.

Vol 8(2) 1991

The Computer Applications Explosion: What Practitioners and Clinical Managers Need to Know by Daniel J. Finnegan, Andre Ivanoff, and Nancy J. Smyth

ABSTRACT. There are mounting indications that social workers are beginning to show interest in utilizing computer technology in practice. Based on this interest and the rapid proliferation of easily accessible software, it is an appropriate time to raise questions about the process of software development and dissemination. These issues are carefully examined following a brief summary of computer applications pertinent to social work practice. In conclusion the authors address ways in which the profession can take an active lead in exercising responsible control over the technology used in providing social work services.

Personal Computer Based Clinical Systems: A Goal Oriented Case Management Model by John G. Vafeas

ABSTRACT. This paper presents the author's research on designing, developing, and testing a computerized case management system aimed at enhancing the employability of physically disabled adults engaged in vocational rehabilitation. The theoretical framework of this system is found in the goal oriented theory for clinical practice and includes a comprehensive assessment, case planning, goal attainment scaling, and monitoring modules. It is written in dBASE III +, and compiled in Clipper. Its feasibility was tested in a clinical setting and the results indicate that clinicians are finding the system facilitative and easy to follow.

Human Services and the Ethics of Computer Matching by Bruce Rocheleau

ABSTRACT. Computer matching has been extensively used by government, primarily as a means of cost-savings and fraud detection. Despite concerns about the invasion of privacy, clear ethical standards about computer matching have not been established. However, a study of past matching practices reveals an implied set of principles. Efficiency is valued over privacy. Welfare clients and government employees are viewed as having sacrificed the right to privacy. Some due process protections are viewed as legitimate but have not been well-implemented. The newly-passed Computer Matching and Privacy Protection Act of 1988 (PL 100-503) strengthens these due process protections.

Programmers, Analysts and Human Service Workers: Cognitive Styles and Task Implications for System Design by Michael C. Kettelhut and Lawrence L. Schkade

ABSTRACT. Individual differences have been identified as sources of variance in the design, success, and use of both Management Information and Decision Support Systems. Research is summarized that suggests cognitive style and task requirements may complicate the design of Management Information and Decision Support Systems for use in Human Services. A case study of the development of a research data base for surgeons provides the basis for discussing task implications of human service systems which are designed to support direct practitioners. Potential problems are identified and prescriptive measures are suggested.

Using Electronic Mail Networks to Enhance Human Service Research Collaboration by Richard M. Tolman and Jeffrey L. Edleson

ABSTRACT. Recent advances have made a variety of instant communication technologies widely available to human service researchers. The authors describe one such technology, electronic mail networks, and illustrate both its advantages and disadvantages in improving applied research collaboration within the human services.

A Microcomputer Management of Information System for Community-Based AIDS Prevention Ethnographic Team Research by Jay Johnson, Mark L. Williams, and Joseph A. Kotarba

ABSTRACT. Ethnographers working on community-based intervention projects increasingly face the task of collecting and analyzing large amounts of qualitative data. In addition, these data sometimes must be simultaneously gathered across diverse populations and at multiple locations. A cost-effective approach that addresses the difficulties in conducting this type of qualitative research is the use of an ethnographic team. Yet, the team concept requires sophisticated strategies for managing large volumes of unstructured text

An Evaluation of the Therapeutic Learning Program: Presentation With and Without a Computer by David Wark, Joseph Kalkman, Dixie Grace, and Elizabeth Wales

ABSTRACT. The Therapeutic Learning Program (TLP) is a structured, model-based treatment designed to help clients counter self-doubts that interfere with personal development. Specific information is collected and a therapist helps the client interpret it, select goals, and overcome emotional barriers to action. Undergraduate volunteers (N = 66) seeking counseling to solve academic problems were randomly assigned to a condition in which they entered TLP information on a computer (TLP1), a condition in which they entered the TLP information on a paper check list (TLP2), or participated in a personally chosen option (PCO) control. The post-test data showed equal satisfaction and self-concept gain for all three treatments. Sessions with the computer were longer, involved the clients in more individual effort, and were probably more thorough.

Volume 8 (3/4), 1992

Special double issue: Computer Applications in Mental Health: Education and Evaluation edited by Marvin Miller

Mental Health Clinical Computer Applications That Succeed: The VA Experience by Robert M. Kolodner

ABSTRACT. Clinicians and researchers alike have been foretelling the arrival of the use of computers in mental health since the mid 1960's. Many of the applications that have been developed since that time were implemented at single sites or were developed in a research environment. Relatively few applications were implemented and used in the day-to-day care of patients at multiple facilities. The mental health software currently being used by the largest number of clinicians at multiple facilities is the software developed in the Department of Veterans Affairs. This paper will review the lessons learned from the development and use of the software in VA settings. Both barriers and facilitating factors for implementation and adoption of mental health software will be identified as part of this review.

Obtaining Mental Health Software by Telephone from a Computerized Bulletin Board System by Marvin J. Miller


The Development of the Missouri Automated Reinforcer Assessment (MARA): An Update by Madeleine Vatterott, Jayne Callier and Matthew Hile

ABSTRACT. The Missouri Automated Reinforcer Assessment (or MARA) is a computer program developed to determine a collection of reinforcers for use in behavior programs, activity selection, and to provide general preference information. The goal of the Missouri Automated Reinforcer Assessment is to provide a thorough, yet efficient assessment of an individual's preferences via the computer, and to present the obtained information in a usable manner to a teacher, mental health professional, parent, caretaker, etc. The MARA was designed for verbal individuals who are most likely to be on a reinforcer program. These individuals include persons who are developmentally delayed, young children with behavior or motivation problems, adult and child psychiatric inpatients, and individuals who have suffered a brain trauma. In this paper, a general discussion regarding reinforcers and reinforcer assessments will be presented, with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of an automated assessment. After this background information, the procedure used to obtain the items in the program will be presented, followed by a description of the automated program.

Psychiatric Paperwork Enhancement Through Quasi Automated Office Systems Development by Carol A. Zawacky, Vladimir G. Levit, Muzaffar M. Khan and Anjan Bhattacharyya

ABSTRACT. This article describes an automation system which the authors piloted in an extended care services unit at a state inpatient psychiatric facility. The computerization system began in 1988 with one treatment team using word processing software in a microcomputer to write psychiatric and psychological assessments, monthly patient progress notes, and comprehensive treatment plan reviews. Once proven to be effective in reducing time spent in these tasks, the authors sought to systematically streamline and enhance a number of psychiatric documents.

Speech Timing of Mood Disorders by Ernest H. Friedman and Gary G. Sanders

ABSTRACT. Computerized evaluation of pauses between spoken words can be conducted in the medical office or over the telephone. Frequency and duration of long speech hesitation pauses (LP = > I sec.) can be correlated with coronary-risk and mood. Pauses of 100 + msec are sorted into many fluency levels. Peak fluency of LP irrespective of pause-time, and at maximal pause-time, are behavioral correlates of mood. At intermediate fluency they are explained by left-hemisphere, right-hemisphere and interhemispheric transit, respectively. Short pauses (SP = < I sec.) sorted at these fluency nodes monitor competence of asymmetric and interhemispheric brain functions. Diurnal mood variation is monitored by comparing the morning and evening frequency and duration of the patient's pauses. The frequency of pauses within < 1.16 second may diag-nose manic mood modulated by the basal region of the right temporal lobe. LP and SP may monitor interrelationships among mood and thought disorders subserved by the left dorsal prefrontal cortex.

A Knowledge Based System for Assisting in Differential Diagnosis of Chemically Dependent/Mentally III Patients by Robert John Bischoff

ABSTRACT. This paper discusses the use of Knowledge Base 2.1 a computer program that administers a response dependent structured interview to evaluate the presence of psychiatric disorders within the chemical dependency treatment setting. The writer re-views the problems commonly encountered when conducting clinical interviews psychometric examinations and differentially diagnosing Psychiatric disorders within this special population. knowledge Base 2.1 utilizes combined computer techniques of rule driven logic pattern matching and an original algorithm that accomplishes a real time restandardization of the complete database. With each administration a restandardization is implemented in an effort to adequately consider the effects of chemical dependency on psychological test performance and normative information regarding symptoms. Knowledge Base 2.1 also functions as a research tool inasmuch as all patient responses to this structured interview are permanently stored m computer files for ongoing analysis.

Microcomputers for Behavioral Health Education: Developing and Evaluating Patient Education for the Chronically Ill by Sue V. Petzel, Lynda B. M. Ellis, Jcffrey R. Budd and Y. Johnson

ABSTRACT. Eleven lessons in written and computer formats have been developed to promote self-efficacy and to teach three coping skills: problem solving, social networking, and communication. The lessons are being evaluated by sixty four parents of children with cystic fibrosis. The overall goal of this study is to compare the effectiveness of written lessons, computer lessons and generic mental health materials. This paper describes the lesson series and the evaluation of the fourth and fifth lessons. Preliminary results indicate the computer lessons are as or more acceptable than written lessons or generic health education brochures. Lessons, unlike brochures, are rated increasingly more favorably as more are completed. Parents completing lessons four (p < 0.001) and five (p = O.015) in computer form rate themselves as learning significantly more than those completing the corresponding written lessons and brochures. Computer-assisted instruction emphasizing the active acquisition of coping skills and promoting self-efficacy is well received by parents of children with cystic fibrosis and can be rated more highly than written lessons or generic menial health brochures.

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