Claremont Graduate University: Ph.D.
Claremont Graduate University: M.A.
Point of Loma Nazarene University: B.A.
Areas of Expertise (3)
Military Social Work
Industry Expertise (4)
Mental Health Care
Health Care - Facilities
Media Appearances (1)
Adoptee explores childhood trauma in the hope of helping others
USC News online
Hefley approached Hazel Atuel, a research assistant professor, for guidance on developing a research project related to the effects of childhood trauma on the brain. Atuel immediately thought of the USC Shoah Foundation archives, essentially a rich collection of firsthand interview data with high relevance to Hefley’s interests and background ...
Research Articles & Publications (5)
Military children experience a variety of military-specific stressors. Stressors include repeated geographic relocation and parental separation, both of which can negatively affect social, emotional, psychological, and academic outcomes. Educational reform research, however, has found that caring and responsive schools can moderate the effects of psychological stress on the social and emotional outcomes of students. Lacking are studies that examine the transformative role of principals and other school administrators in providing school supports for military children. Hence, this study is guided by multiple objectives. This study examined the military-connected (MC) school administrators' philosophy as it relates to military students, programmatic efforts for military students, and assessment of military social work interns. Data were collected using an online survey tool, and results suggest consensus among most MC school administrators regarding the unique needs of military students and the need for programs and resources that address these needs. This study found that many administrators struggle to provide adequate supports for military students.
Field education is a vital part of learning and training for students pursuing an MSW degree. Guided by competencies created by the Council on Social Work Education, MSW programs are continuously evaluating the effectiveness of field experiences. U.S.-based public schools lack the training and capacity to provide adequate support to military-connected students. To understand the skills and competencies of MSW students placed in military-connected schools, the authors collected data from 30 first-year MSW students and their eight field instructors at two time points (fall and spring) during the 2010–2011 academic year. Both students and instructors gave higher-than-midpoint ratings to students on competencies at both time points. At time 1, students rated themselves lowest on application of complex practice models, policy issues, and working on the macro level with military organizations, whereas instructors rated students lowest on items related to systemic monitoring and research in practice. Progress toward competencies during the academic year was noted for more than half of the competencies. Although as groups, students and field instructors provided similar assessments, similarity within student–instructor dyads was low, suggesting opportunities for growth in the context of field instruction and the need for development of individual student–instructor relationships.
The present analysis sought to explore the normative rates and correlates of school victimization and weapon carrying among military-connected and nonmilitary-connected youth in public schools in Southern California.
Young people in military-connected families may be exposed to deleterious stressors, related to family member deployment, that have been associated with externalizing behaviors such as substance use. Substance use predisposes youth to myriad health and social problems across the life span.
The mental health of children is a primary public health concern; adolescents of military personnel may be at increased risk of experiencing poorer well-being overall and depressive symptoms specifically. These adolescents experience individual and intrafamilial stressors of parental deployment and reintegration, which are directly and indirectly associated with internalizing behaviors.