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The Academy wins gold Hermes Award for Culturally Responsive Practice for Contact Tracers eLearning

eLearning Culturally Responsive Practice for Contact Tracers Hermes Awards 2021


San Diego, CA, June 21, 2021 – The Culturally Responsive Practice for Contact Tracers eLearning developed by Child Welfare Development Services (CWDS), a program of the Academy for Professional Excellence, has earned a gold Hermes Creative Award. The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, and design of traditional materials and emerging technologies.


The eLearning course was created to support contact tracers hired by the County of San Diego Health & Human Services Agency (HSSA) as they responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Due to the cultural diversity of the population in San Diego county, HSSA needed to implement a web-based training program quickly to train contact tracers on culturally responsive practice that focused on at-risk populations, including residents in senior living facilities and low-income communities.


The Culturally Responsive Practice for Contact Tracers eLearning course provides contact tracers with the foundational knowledge they need to build rapport, engage in a culturally responsive way, and demonstrate compassion and empathy to have successful conversations with every community member they contact who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus.


“Our partnership with the Health and Human Services Agency provided an opportunity to ensure the needs of the diverse communities of San Diego are adequately served during the pandemic,” said Wanjiru Golly, PhD, Cultural Responsiveness Academy Program Manager. “Our organization, along with the Health and Human Service Agencies we serve, have needed to adapt and innovate to respond to new needs that arose during the pandemic. Our team always strives to transform hearts, minds, and practice through our services and we are proud that this met a need for our partners,” added Dawn Schoonhoven Scott, Child Welfare Development Services (CWDS) Director.


Also commenting on the win, Valerie Ryan, Learning Experience (LX) Design Manager, “We designed the eLearning course as a learning journey that is inviting and uses conversational language so that we could model that engagement for the contact tracers.” 


This is the Academy’s first full-length eLearning developed in Articulate Rise, a rapid development tool designed to quickly create streamlined, responsive courses. 


About Child Welfare Development Services

Child Welfare Development Services (CWDS) is a program of the Academy for Professional Excellence at San Diego State University School of Social Work.

CWDS, sometimes referred to as the “Southern Academy,” is one of five child welfare training academies in the state of California. Established in July 1996, it serves the counties of Imperial, Orange, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Riverside. Additional workforce development, including advanced training, is offered to the counties of Ventura and Los Angeles.

To learn more about CWDS, visit


About Hermes Creative Awards

Hermes Creative Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals ( The AMCP has coordinated and judged the awards for over 20 years. Each year, competition judges evaluate the creative industry’s best publications, branding collateral, websites, videos, and advertising, marketing, and communication programs. A list of Platinum and Gold Winners can be found on the Hermes Creative Awards website at


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