HDSA Social Work On Demand Online Courses

Course Description
HDSA offers social work online courses. These online courses are designed to offer expert knowledge about Huntington’s disease (HD) to social workers who care for people with HD. They are recorded webinars – a recording of an actual training now offered in recorded form on demand. Instructors have been chosen for their expertise in HD and/or their knowledge of a particular subject pertinent to the field of HD and their qualifications.

Target Audience
These recorded webinars are aimed at intermediate and advanced level social workers who currently care for people with HD in order to enhance their knowledge base or to those intermediate and advanced level social workers who have a desire to expand their skill set in this specialized area.

Technical Requirements
The following hardware/software specifications must be met or exceeded to complete these activities:

  • Web browser and Internet connection
  • Free flash plug-in version 8 or higher
  • Computer equipped with audio output (speakers or headphones)
  • Printer
  • Pop-up windows enabled for viewing support materials

Instructions to Participants

  • There is no fee charged for participation in this CE activity.
  • Read the target audience, purpose statement, and author disclosures on this screen.
  • To register for the course please click on each course’s link.
  • Study the educational activity as presented on this web site.
  • Read, complete and submit answers to the Post-Test Questions which includes the mandatory Evaluation Form. These documents are available on the last screen of this CE activity. The participant cannot successfully log out until the form is completed.

Accreditation Statement
CEs are issued by the Association of Social Worker Boards (ASWB). Please check your state’s requirements for CEs. HDSA is not working with other organizations to meet your particular state requirement.

From Huntington’s Disease Society of America: Mission, Programs and Scientific Affairs, provider #1565, is approved as a provider for social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) www.aswb.org through the Approved Continuing Education (ACE) Program. HDSA maintains responsibility for the program. ASWB Approval Period: 9.7.2018 until 9.7.2021. Social workers participating in these courses will receive 1 (one) continuing education clock hour

Please contact Debra Lovecky at dlovecky@hdsa.org with any further questions.

Receive ASWB/ACE Credits
To receive ASWB/ACE credits for these activities you must complete the HDSA registration that includes name, email contact, state of license, type of license and license number, the self-assessment, complete the pre-test, view the recorded lecture and complete the post assessment and evaluation. The social worker will be expected to pass a post test (at 80% rate) in no more than 2 tries. If the social worker does not pass the test after 2 tries, they will not be awarded credit for the course.

Each successfully completed activity provides 1 CE credit.

Certificates will be emailed within 30 days of course completion by an HDSA representative from the national office. Contact Debra Lovecky at dlovecky@hdsa.org with any written grievance.

The material presented here does not necessarily reflect the views of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA) or the Association of Social Worker Boards (ASWB). Participants are encouraged to verify all information and data before employing any of the strategies or therapies described in this educational course.

Please contact Debra Lovecky at dlovecky@hdsa.org to request any accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

Welcome to the New and Improved HDSA Distance Learning School!

We are continually striving to provide you with the best Distance Learning experience possible, and you will now be able to self-enroll on the courses, track your progress, and have access to all of your course series using one login.

We hope you enjoy attending the new Distance Learning School as much as we enjoyed creating it for you.

 Instructions on how to access self-registration:

Go to https://hdsa.moodlecloud.com/

Click on “Create New Account”

The Privacy Notice pages will appear, click next (at the bottom of the screen) go to the final page and agree to terms and conditions.

Create your account by providing the required personal data (please review all data before submitting, as it will display on your certificate as is)

  • Username (all lowercase)
  • Email
  • Full name
  • State and license #

(If you do not have a license number, please add spaces on this field to continue with your registration)

A confirmation page will show, and an email will be sent to your email address to activate your account.

Once you log in, Instructions on how to navigate the pages will appear.

For easy navigation, please see the 3 tabs at the beginning of the page:

  • Home – this page will allow you to self-register to the courses
  • Dashboard – shows progress on courses
  • My courses – shows a list of courses you are enrolled in

For any technical issues please contact: Jessica Jimenez ADMIN at jessicaajimenezc@gmail.com, for anything else please contact Debra Lovecky at dlovecky@hdsa.org


Click on the Course title to continue

COURSE 1: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Helping Young People Cope with Grief and Loss and the Reality of HD

Course Description
This course will help social workers gain awareness and understand grief and loss from a child’s perspective; acquire knowledge in order to provide support and guidance to youth; and characterize issues that might necessitate the need for further treatment in this younger population impacted by HD.

Instructor Qualifactions
Allison Twente, PhD, a Licensed Clinical child psychologist, is from Richmond VA. Dr. Twente works with children and adolescents and their families. She has expertise and interest in children’s social relationships and in facilitating the adjustment of families to change, especially following death or divorce. She provides individual counseling to all age groups, and also counsels couples and families and guides parents in facilitating their co-parenting. Dr. Twente is trained in Collaborative Practice and works as a divorce coach and a child specialist in collaborative approaches to divorce.

Learning Objectives
After attending this course, participants will be able to:

  • Differentiate the meanings of grief and loss
  • Describe how children differ from adults in expressing grief and loss
  • List 3 ways to help those cope with their losses

COURSE 2: Ethics in the World of HD

Course Description
Social work ethical concepts are reviewed and put in context of social workers working with HD families. Scenarios about ethical dilemmas are presented.

Instructor Qualifactions
Lisa Mooney currently works as a dual licensed social worker- for both the HDSA Northern California Chapter and the HDSA Center of Excellence at UC Davis. She has worked with HD patients for 7 years and facilitates a monthly support group for patients, caregivers and at-risk persons while providing HD education throughout the Northern CA region. The best part of her job is getting to know families, providing emotional support and assisting them throughout their HD journey from diagnosis to end of life. The worst part is knowing that often the relationship does not end with the identified HD person, since other generations may get HD as well.

Learning Objectives
The social worker will be able to:

  • Explain the need for a code of ethics
  • Name 3 social work values
  • Name 3 guidelines for identifying an ethical dilemma

COURSE 3: Behavioral Symptom Management in HD – Strategies to Share with Families and Caregivers

Course Description
Dr. Faeder will discuss psychiatric symptoms of HD, medications and other therapies used to treat, explanations of managing difficult symptoms like apathy, demoralization and sleep. Psychiatric issues are prominent in HD and family members often come to social workers with questions about this range of symptoms. Social worker knowledge of these basics are critical in helping families manage their loved one with HD and steer patients to professionals that can help treat these symptoms.

Instructor Qualifactions
Morgan Fader, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in the overlap of psychiatric and neurological illness. He devotes part of his time to the Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence within the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Department of Neurology, where he sees patients and supervises psychiatry fellows. He received his MD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, his PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and completed Psychiatry residency and Psychosomatic Medicine fellowship at UPMC.

Learning Objectives
After listening to Dr. Faeder, the social worker should be able to:

  • Explain the need for both medicine and behavioral/environmental treatments for HD.
  • Explain why suicide is of concern in the HD population.
  • Name 3 strategies for behavioral interventions with a person with HD.

COURSE 4: Legal Issues of Incapacity and Planning for Cost of Care

Course Description
Social workers should be familiar with legal terms that come up often in working with HD families and know when and where to refer for further legal expertise. Terms like substitute decision making, guardianship vs. conservatorship, spousal rights are some of the issues HD families may face.

Instructor Qualifactions
Kelly Thompson, Attorney at Law, has more than 35 years of legal experience and has a specialty in elder care. She has helped HD families in the DC/VA area navigate their legal issues around health care decision making.

Learning Objectives
After attending this course, the social worker will be able to:

  • Name 2 documents that are helpful to families making health care decisions
  • Explain one difference between a payee and guardianship
  • Describe the role of the Durable Power of Attorney, DPOA

COURSE 5: The Use of Technology in Medical Social Work/Clinical Practice

Course Description
This workshop will look at the NASW’s updated Code of Ethics that includes an overview and update of technology standards, how best to assess families’ ability to use various technologies, theories that support clients’ relationship with technology. The workshop will help social workers look at their own technology abilities, how they gather, manage and store data and how they inform and meet families’ needs with the help of technology.

Instructor Qualifactions
Elise Johnson is an LCSW with 25 years of social work experience in her native Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development from California State University, Northridge, a post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Child Abuse and Family Violence Treatment from California State University, Los Angeles, and her MSW from California State University, Long Beach.

She has worked in child welfare for L.A County DCFS, worked with homeless families and in community mental health. She has spent the last 18 years as a clinician at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center/ Miller Children and Women’s Hospital of Long Beach. She works in the Emergency Department as well as in Pediatrics.

Elise is also a part time lecturer in two MSW programs; Cal State Dominguez Hills and UCLA.

Her clinical and academic interests include trauma-informed care, social determinants of health, homelessness, history of social work in L.A. and child maltreatment. An area of particular interest is the role technology plays in social work practice and social work education.

She was invited to participate in a five-member subcommittee that contributed to the development of NASW/ASWB/CSWE/CSWA’s 2017 Technology Standards for Social Work Practice.

Learning Objectives

  • The social worker should be able to name three ethical standards that are impacted with the use of technology in social work practice.
  • The social worker can name four ways that social workers can provide assisted services to their clients with the help of technology.
  • The social worker can explain how she/he protects the confidentiality of the persons and families with whom she/he connects.

For additional resources associated with this course please click here.

COURSE 6: Genetic Counseling Issues for Young Adults

Course Description
Many young people are considering genetic testing for the HD gene. An experienced genetic counselor will talk about unique issues for young adults considering testing and two young people from the National Youth Alliance will talk about their experience in whether to test or not.

Instructor Qualifactions
Ginger Norris is a certified genetic counselor with over 20 years of experience. She is the program manager for the HDSA Center of Excellence HD Program at the Virginia Commonwealth University Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center. Additionally Ms. Norris is the Clinical Research Manager for the center. She facilitates a monthly HD support group for the Richmond metro area.

Learning Objectives

  • Genetic counseling issues for young Adults
  • Name one thing that might be different counseling a young person contemplating testing for HD.
  • Explain the importance of genetic counseling as part of the guidelines for testing for HD.
  • Give an example of a cautionary tale when talking with young adults considering testing.

COURSE 7: “Weeding Out the Truth” About Medical Marijuana

Course Description
Treating symptoms of Huntington’s disease is often mentioned as many states are offering medical marijuana. This session will look at the research literature with cannabis and HD, what symptoms might be helped and how social workers can answer patient questions about the use of cannabis.

Instructor Qualifactions
Dr. Leora Fox joined HDSA as Manager of Research and Mission Programs in August 2017. She obtained her PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior at Columbia University, where she studied how brain cells clear away deposits of harmful huntingtin protein. Previously a medical writer and contributing author at HDBuzz, Dr. Fox supports HDSA’s efforts towards funding research and communicating the science of Huntington’s disease. She works closely with HDSA fellows to support their progress, creates oral and written materials to explain the science behind current trials, and writes This Week in HD Research, HDSA’s new science blog. She is passionate about communicating science to the HD community so that families can keep abreast of scientific progress and make informed decisions about participating in clinical research.

Learning Objectives

  • Name three chemical components of cannabis.
  • Describe three potential responses of cannabis for HD patients.
  • Give two examples why cannabis is not regularly prescribed for the HD community.

For additional resources associated with this course please click here.


COURSE 8: Healthy Relationship Boundaries 

Luci Draayer, LCSW, CMC Denver Counseling and Care Consultation 

Luci has been a healthcare Social Worker and Care Manager for almost 25 years, including providing services to the Rocky Mountain Movement Disorders HDSA Center of Excellence for the past 8 years.  Her career emphasis is on caregiver health, family well-being, and grief and loss. Luci received her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Kentucky. She maintains her licensure as a Clinical Social Worker and certification as a Care Manager with the Aging Life Care Association. 

Course description 

This session will define boundary issues and how healthy boundaries are essential both in our personal and professional lives. We will examine how our personal style shapes our professional one.  You will be challenged to think about the boundaries you are setting or breaking, identify when someone is breaking a boundary with you, discover red flags that may mean trouble, and lastly explore useful tips for maintaining healthy boundaries in your work with clients.   


Course objectives 

After attending this course, participants will be able to: 


  • Define the general concepts of healthy relationship boundaries 
  • Explain the complicated nature of boundaries for social workers who work with HD patients and families 
  • List 3 red flags that may indicate the need to address a boundary issue 
  • Identify 3 strategies for maintaining healthy boundaries 

    For additional resources associated with this course please Click here


Course 9: Child development through the lens of an HD family

Jennifer Simpson, LCSW, Senior Manager of Advocacy and Youth Programs

Jennifer has been working with families affected by trauma for more than seven years. Prior to joining HDSA she worked with individuals and their children who were entering shelter fleeing domestic violence. She has been working with individuals affected by Huntington’s disease since 2014 as the Manager of Advocacy and Education, and has been involved in developing programming with the National Youth Alliance, now as the Senior Manager of Advocacy and Youth Programs, for three years.


Course description

Refreshing your education about child development, this session will review the most prominent of the child development theories looking at development through the lens of being in an HD family. Jennifer will describe how HD can affect youth development with real examples from the National Youth Alliance members and attendees to HDSA’s youth retreats. 


Course Objectives

After attending this course, participants are able to:

  • Contrasting the four child development theories reviewed in this course, explain how a teenager might present when their parent has mid to late stages of HD.
  • From your biopsychosocial assessment for a child of 10, formulate how you are “where the client is” in their developmental stage on how they process their parent having active HD symptoms.
  • Explain how developmental stages can be seen as both risk and protective factors in the life of a child in an HD family.


For additional resources associated with this course please Click here