Category Archives: mental health

Vet’s Best Friend

by Jim Bisco

This was originally published in the UB School of Social Work magazine Mosaics, Spring 2015 issue

Research investigates effect shelter dog rehabilitation has on combat veterans

Those normally part of the bustling traffic of the UB Student Union were halted in their hurried tracks during a lunchtime last year by the presence of two shelter dogs at an exhibit table. They were, in a sense, manning an exhibit for an organization called Dog Tags Niagara with their human companions who were military veterans.

Jacob Silver, a junior in biomedical sciences, was among those who paused. A Marine Corps veteran himself carrying on his education after two tours in Afghanistan, he struck up a conversation with Mike, an Iraq war veteran dealing with transition and adjustment to civilian life, who proceeded to explain how Dog Tags turned his life around, and how it’s doing the same for fellow vets experiencing the after-effects of combat. The dogs looked as though they wanted to extol the benefits of the program as well.

White pit bull dog standing, on a leash, with dog blanket of khaki and pink.

Jewell, a (deaf) rescue dog

Thinking the mission of Dog Tags Niagara would make for a highly relevant research project, the pre-med student began to send emails out to various UB departments, eventually grabbing the attention of SSW Research Professor Thomas Nochajski.

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Why I’ve Stopped Using the Term “Behavioral Health”

by Elizabeth Bowen, Ph.D.
Guest Author


A big part of being a social worker is critical thinking, including reflecting on the language we use to describe the people and issues with which social workers work.


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “behavioral health.” This term has grated on me for a while. The first problem I have is that I’m never sure exactly what it’s referring to.

Photo of white ceramic head with black grid over brain areas, labeled "individuality" "reasoning" et cetera
What is “behavioral health”?




Often behavioral health is used as a catch-all term for substance use and mental health-related issues.






Sometimes it seems to also encompass weight management, nutrition, and other efforts to promote a “healthy lifestyle.” Then there are conditions that are clearly linked to behaviors—sexually transmitted infections, for example—but that rarely seem to be included under the behavioral health umbrella.

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