Change Text Size
Email Columns Print page
Columns: The Online newspaper for the University of Georgia community
Show Index
September 27, 2010   Columns Articles | Inside UGA | Community service
Magnify ASPIRE clinic three faculty members-H.env.portrait
From left: UGA faculty members Jerry Gale, Maria Bermudez and Joseph Goetz are part of ASPIRE, a clinic that provides a variety of counseling services to Athens-area residents. Photo by Peter Frey

Community service

Expanded clinic provides counseling on relationships, finances, housing and nutrition

September 27, 2010
Share    

  A new clinic at UGA, one of the first of its kind in the U.S., will provide residents of Athens-Clarke County and surrounding areas counseling services on a variety of topics, including individual and relationship issues, finances, housing and nutrition.

The clinic, known by the acronym ASPIRE, which stands for Acquiring Strategies for Personal Improvement and Relationship Enhancement, is the creation of faculty in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. It opened on a limited basis in January providing services on individual and relationship issues and financial issues, according to Lee Johnson, associate professor of child and family development and director of the FACS marriage and family therapy program.

"We want to meet clients where they are," Johnson said. "What we have already found is that our clients liked having both services available. We think we'll have even more people who want to access these additional services."

There are no requirements or limits on whom a client meets with. For example, someone interested in nutrition counseling isn't required to also meet with a financial planning counselor. However, Johnson and his colleagues agree that it can be helpful to have access to experts in other fields.

"Our financial planning counselors have said they appreciated knowing they had a resource to turn to if a client seemed depressed or if a family's financial issues seemed tied to relationship issues," said Joseph Goetz, assistant professor of family financial planning and another founder of ASPIRE. "As we've talked to our colleagues in other departments, we've realized how interconnected so many aspects of people's lives are."

Megan Lee, assistant professor of furnishings and interiors, said the home environment plays a role in a variety of other issues.

"For a family that's facing financial issues and also dealing with physical infirmities, we can help identify relatively inexpensive solutions that will make a house more accessible and safer," she said. "For another family facing issues regarding how its children perform in school, we might look at the space the children have for homework and identify ways to make that space more appropriate."

In addition, Lee said, clients who want to remodel their kitchen can work with furnishings and interiors students who will draw up plans and work with them in picking out materials and getting them installed.

Rebecca Mullis, head of the FACS foods and nutrition department, sees the ASPIRE clinic as a place where FDN students, under the direction of a registered dietitian, could work with individuals, families or small groups on a variety of nutrition issues.

"Right now, we know that the University Health Center has a high demand for nutrition counseling and classes," she said. "ASPIRE could provide a place for both students and community members to discuss issues like weight control or vegetarian eating.

Mullis emphasized that the counselors will focus on nutrition education, not clinical issues such as eating disorders. However, she said, there is a range of topics that could be pursued, including issues that also might include counselors in the other areas.

"For example, food costs are one of the most elastic areas in anyone's budget," she said. "In these economic times, I could foresee our counselors working with those in financial planning to reduce food costs on things like eating out and, instead, teach families ways to provide nutritious meals on a budget."

Likewise, Mullis said individuals who wanted to lose weight might find it helpful to include a relationship counselor to ensure family support for the effort.

Other faculty who are involved in ASPIRE include Maria Bermudez, assistant professor of marriage and family therapy, and Jerry Gale, associate professor of marriage and family therapy.

In addition to providing a community service, faculty involved with ASPIRE also will gather data to determine whether the model is an effective way of delivering a range of services to clients, Johnson said. Those providing counseling services are either advanced undergraduate or graduate students who have received specific training and whose work is overseen by faculty members.

MORE INFO The cost for ASPIRE is on a sliding fee schedule. For additional information or to arrange a free consultation call (706) 542-4486 or send an e-mail to ftclinic@uga.edu.

More from this issue

  • September 27, 2010

    Rewiring politics

    New media forces are reshaping American politics, but traditional journalistic standards and practices still play an important role in national discourse, a panel of lawmakers and media professionals said Sept. 20 at the Chapel. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Doctoral completion rate for African Americans ranks among top in nation

    Diverse Issues in Higher Education recently ranked UGA 15th in the nation for doctoral degrees awarded to African Americans, up from 17th in last year's rankings. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Diversity Days kick off celebrates new opportunities for inclusion

    University faculty, staff and students spoke about the value of a rich and varied campus community Sept. 13 at the Diversity Days kickoff celebration, which marks the start of a month of inclusion and acceptance-related activities on campus. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    D.W. Brooks lecturer will discuss magnitude of global food system

    For more than 25 years, the University of Minnesota's Jean Kinsey has studied the issues of getting food to hungry people-and the economics, policies and opportunities involved. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    UGA to host State of State of Education Conference Sept. 30

    Some of Georgia's top education leaders and policymakers will attend the College of Education's third annual State of the State of Education in Georgia Conference on Sept. 30 at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Second annual Ljungdahl Lecture to be given by German microbiology professor

    Harold L. Drake, professor of ecological microbiology at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, will deliver the second annual Lars G. Ljungdahl Lecture at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 in Room C127 of the Davison Life Science Complex. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    ‘Trojan horses’

    Trypanosomes are parasites responsible for ­African sleeping sickness, which results from the bite of infected tsetse flies and puts more than 60 million Africans in 36 sub-Saharan countries at risk. A team of researchers at UGA and the University of Glasgow has now shown just how one species of these parasites evades the human innate defenses.   Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    Study identifies critical ‘traffic engineer’ of nervous system

    A new UGA study published in the journal Nature has identified an enzyme that keeps the nervous system's traffic flowing in the right direction, which could eventually lead to new treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    UGA welcomes new faculty

    Below is an alphabetical listing of new tenured and tenure-track faculty who have arrived at the university this semester. They are in departments spread across 13 schools and colleges plus the Faculty of Engineering. The information was supplied by the Office of Faculty Affairs, which acts as a liaison between the university and the USG board of regents on matters related to faculty appointment, promotion and tenure. For more information about that office, see the Key Links section of the Provost's Office website: provost.uga.edu. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    University takes steps to replenish faculty ranks with more than 70 new hires

    More than 70 new tenured and tenure-track faculty have arrived at the university this semester, with more on the way. While many are filling vacant positions, the numbers are nonetheless significant, said Provost Jere Morehead. Continue

  • September 27, 2010

    UGA researchers win $1.34 million DOE biofuels grant

    UGA researchers have won a $1.34 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to attempt to increase the productivity of trees by genetically modifying certain proteins critical to wood formation. The study could have important implications in using trees as biofuel. Continue

FOR MORE ONLINE
UGA
Columns is produced by the University of Georgia | Division of Marketing & Communications | Feedback