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Wellness for Professionals: Taking Care While Giving Care – Nkem Ndefo Panelist

March 21 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Celebrate Social Work Month and the nursing profession with the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Alumni Association and USC-NASW Unit.

Join us in-person or via livestream for a screening of the award-winning film, Portraits of Professional CAREgivers: Their Passion, Their Pain, followed by a panel discussion. Learn more about how other professionals make time for self-care, tools to manage compassion fatigue and how to take advantage of support groups and other resources in your professional life.

Licensed social workers can earn two CEUs as you hear from local experts. In honor of Social Work Month and in gratitude to our social workers and nurses, in-person and online participants can enter to win a drawing for one of three wellness packages.

Produced and directed by social worker Vic Compher, Portraits of Professional CAREgivers probes the emotionally risky aspects of professional care providers. Engaged, empathic caregiving can be a significant occupational hazard, and the film explores the painful and human sides of professionals including nurses, social workers, clinical psychologists, doctors, firefighters and first responders who rescue, assist and, when possible, heal the injured and traumatized. Learn more about what is known as compassion fatigue or secondary traumatic stress, which professionals can experience in response to trauma even when they may also experience profound meaningfulness in their high risk work. Who helps our helpers? Learn how some progressive agencies are beginning to explore how the care provider is affected emotionally and physically, and how they are developing essential structures for staff support.

Complimentary admission includes dinner, soft drinks and movie snacks. Parking is available for $12 in USC Parking Structure D through Entrance 4.


Moderator, Fidel Rodriguez ’97
is a Human Relations Consultant and Violence Prevention Specialist for the County of Los Angeles’ Human Relations Commission. He facilitates and coordinates “Spreading Seeds: Body, Mind, Spirit,” a rite of passage program which began at Homeboy Industries in 2008, and also created the nationally recognized Breaking the Cycle with Dignity: Overcoming Insurmountable Obstacles, a 30 hour state-certified conflict resolution and human relations training. Since 1995, Fidel has been producing and hosting radio shows, TV segments, and concerts with entertainers and thought-provoking guests for youth and young adults through the culture of Hip Hop. Fidel has conducted numerous workshops and cultural events for incarcerated youth. Read full bio here.

Elizabeth Eastlund, LCSW
is Executive Director of Rainbow Services, an organization that operates two domestic violence shelters in addition to providing support and assistance for women and children dealing with family violence, and is an advisor to the Trauma Informed Task Force of Greater L.A. Read full bio here.

Nkem Ndefo, MSN, RN, CNM
is the founder of TRE Los Angeles, which provides community-based resilience building and trauma recovery services and programming to social service, healthcare and educational organizations, focusing on the practice of Tension Release Exercises (TRE). Nkem sits on the Strategic Planning Committee of the Trauma Informed Task Force of Greater L.A. Read full bio here.

Michael St. Denis, J.D., MSW Candidate
is a distinguished attorney, military veteran and a current student in the Virtual Academic Center at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Read full bio here.

Mara Ziegler, MSW ’84, LCSW
is an adjunct professor and field instructor at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. She concurrently serves as a senior social worker at Public Counsel Law Center on the Children’s Rights Project, where she also provides compassion fatigue training to staff, students and community partner agencies. Read full bio here.

Program Details:

5:00-6:00 p.m.
Networking with fellow USC students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners. Dinner will be served.

6:00-7:30 p.m.
Welcome and screening of the award-winning film, Portraits of Professional CAREgivers.

7:45-9:00 p.m.
Panel discussion.

***Participants must attend the movie and panel presentation from 6:15-9:00 p.m. to receive two CEUs.

CEU Provider language:

The University of Southern California (USC) School of Social Work, an accredited school of social work as defined in Business and Professions Code section 4991.2, meets the requirements set forth in section 4996.22(d)(1). The School is recognized by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as a continuing education provider pursuant to Section 1887.4.3

CEU Learning Objectives:

  1. Define the terms secondary trauma, vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue.
  2. Identify three services that agencies can provide to help professionals manage compassion fatigue.
  3. List five things that professionals can do when they know their emotions are out of control.
  4. Describe the balance between compassion fatigue and compassion satisfaction.
  5. Discuss the potential physical and emotional impact of compassion fatigue.
  6. Determine how to develop a personal safety plan.
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