From the CEO: Work with NASW to be part of the solution

Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW

Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW
NASW Chief Executive Officer

The July 2018 issue of the NASW News marks the end of a 63-year era.

Since its inception in 1955, NASW has published the NASW News. For many of us, the News has been our connection to the broader profession and our primary means of obtaining news about our professional association.

In August, we will launch Social Work Advocates, a magazine format for delivering news about NASW and providing more in-depth feature stories and news articles. The things that are familiar to readers of NASW News will still be included in Social Work Advocates.

Transitioning from the newspaper to a magazine format is an example of NASW’s commitment to innovation. Based on member surveys, we learned there’s a desire for more in-depth news articles and features and more chapter coverage. Members will find interesting articles and useful social work practice insights in Social Work Advocates.

As I was preparing my thoughts for this final NASW News column, I was tempted to recount any number of outstanding articles written over the last six decades — such as the time Whitney Young spoke to the critical need for social workers to be the voice for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless.

But for now, I'll resist the urge to reminisce.

NASW News readers have grown accustomed to NASW's calls to action for social workers to address social inequality through compassionate immigration laws, criminal justice reforms, health care for all, reasonable gun laws, and many other troubling social justice causes our nation has faced.

For six decades, the News has served as a forum for discussing, documenting, and communicating social work solutions to our nation's most difficult social problems.

For many social workers, an NASW News article or call for action was the impetus for realizing they could get involved and be part of the solution.

Inspired by a NASW News article, they renewed their membership, volunteered for leadership within the Association, and took professional responsibility for leading transformative societal change. In essence they were inspired to be part of the solution.

Through Social Work Advocates, we will continue to provide inspiration for social workers, calling on our profession to assume leadership responsibility for society's social and human development.

The magazine also will be a source for communicating and documenting our continuing work to ensure that the profession leads the way, and keeps pace with changes in health and human services.

At NASW, we strive every day to develop new solutions that help members, knowing innovations are part of providing better and more responsive services to clients and communities.

We're thrilled about new services we've introduced that are more responsive to the challenges social workers face today. These include:

Over the past 18 months, our advocacy efforts have more than doubled. We are standing up and fighting for the profession's values and principles on immigration, gun safety, criminal justice reform, elder services, health care, and homeless prevention.

We have also stepped up our advocacy efforts on behalf of social workers, including H.R.1290, the Improving Access to Mental Health Act, legislation to raise the Medicare reimbursement rate for clinical social workers from 75 percent to 85 percent of the physicians' fee schedule.

We also are actively engaged with our congressional champions to gain support for both H.R.1289, Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young Jr., Social Work Reinvestment Act, and H.R.1484, Social Worker Safety Act of 2017.

In addition to our focused advocacy work, we are offering opportunities to help prepare social workers to run for public office and be active in voter education and mobilization.

For instance, we hosted a national voter empowerment educational sit-in on Capitol Hill in June. We also held congressional briefings on innovations and challenges in providing mental health services to people in prison and those re-entering the community, and a briefing titled "Opioid Crisis Response: Social Work Workforce Readiness."

Recently, a colleague and friend shared that many years ago during a staff meeting, I said the following: "Never allow yourself the luxury of complaining about a problem without first developing a solution and your willingness to be a part of it."

In this final column, I encourage social workers across the profession to renew your membership, volunteer for leadership within the Association, and take professional responsibility for leading transformative change — in essence, be part of the solution!

Contact Angelo McClain at