Social Work in Action (January 2015)

American Psychiatric Association logoNASW and the American Psychiatric Association collaborated on a forum called “Serving the Same Populations: Collaborating for Better Outcomes” at the American Psychiatric Association’s 66th Institute on Psychiatric Services conference in October.

Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute; and Saul Levin, APA CEO and chief medical officer, moderated a panel discussion that included social workers Caitlin Ryan and Marvin Southard and Marvin Southard.

Zlotnik said the forum focused on innovations and integrated care, interprofessional team work and effective community and family interventions to promote social and psychological wellness and to prevent mental health and substance abuse problems in high risk populations, especially LGBT youth and older adults.

Ryan, director of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, gave an overview of the Family Acceptance Project, a research-based intervention to promote the mental health of LGBT youth by working with their families to encourage acceptance early on. The effort has engaged many faith-based groups in promoting an understanding of how greater information and knowledge can keep youth more connected to their families and decrease behavioral health problems and stress.

Southard, director of Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, provided information about the community-based strategies being implemented in Los Angeles to integrate primary health care, substance abuse services and mental health services, especially for people with serious mental illness.

The panel included psychiatrists Hung-Ming Chu, deputy medical director of Behavioral Health and Recovery at San Mateo County Health System; and Barbara Yates Weissman, senior faculty at Behavioral Health & Recovery Services at San Mateo County Older Adult System of Integrated Services.

Hung-Ming Chu discussed how primary health care is being integrated into behavioral health services through adapting the IMPACT model and through development of behavioral health homes in counties in California.

He explained how these models will change the roles for social workers and psychiatrists, noting the multiple roles for social workers as therapists, case managers and care coordinators.

Weissman described the Older Adult System of Integrated Services, a long-standing interdisciplinary mental health-focused home visiting program in San Mateo County that works to keep older adults in their homes.

Weissman noted the importance of social work and psychiatry collaboration and acknowledging the many other professionals that make up the interdisciplinary team.

Council on Social Work Education logoNASW staff participated at the Council on Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting in October.

Carolyn Polowy, NASW general counsel, joined Sunny Harris Rome, a social work professor at George Mason University, to present “Using Recent Court Cases as a Tool to Teach Social Policy.”

Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute, participated in the CSWE Summit on Field Education.

Attendees at the summit heard a keynote presentation by Marion Bogo, social work professor at the University of Toronto, called “Developing a Future Framework for Excellence in Field Education — Embracing the Signature Pedagogy of Social Work.”

Participants were divided into groups that examined economic trends, the imbalance between supply and demand of field sites, diverse needs of students, and recruiting and maintaining high-quality field education sites and instructors. Zlotnik said a report based on the participants’ suggestions will be produced.

The NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project has received renewed funding from the Center for Mental Health Services/Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. The funding, a subcontract through Educational Development Center, Inc., — which will be administered by the NASW Foundation — will support the project for another five years, building on the most recent contract from 2009-2014.

NASW has successfully met the criteria to earn a rating of “excellent” from the Center for Mental Health Services.

“This is possible due to the skills and dedication of the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum team, and the expertise and commitment of our colleagues from across all the NASW divisions and programs,” said Heidi McIntosh, NASW’s deputy director of programs.

NASW staff leading the project are Melvin Wilson, manager for human rights and social justice; and Evelyn Tomaszewski, director of the HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project.

NASW implemented the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum: Mental Health Training and Education of Social Workers Project in 1995. The goal of the project is to provide the necessary HIV and mental health practice skills for providers working in social work, mental health, and substance abuse fields to enhance and promote culturally competent practices with individuals, families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

Social Workers’ Desk Reference front coverNASW senior practice associate Chris Herman and NASW senior policy adviser Evelyn Tomaszewski contributed to the 3rd edition of “Social Workers’ Desk Reference,” which will be published in mid-December.

Herman wrote a chapter on the recently revised (2013) NASW Standards for Social Work Case Management and Tomaszewski co-authored a chapter on case management for people living with HIV/AIDS.

The Eldercare Workforce Alliance held a Capitol Hill briefing in October to address the role of interdisciplinary teams — health care professionals, direct-care workers, and family caregivers — in caring for older adults.

Content included the importance of public programs that fund not only services for older adults and family caregivers, but also programs that enhance practitioners’ geriatric and gerontological skills.

The Alliance is a coalition of 30 organizations, of which NASW is one.