Advisory group sets agenda

Committee also meets with White House AIDS policy director

 Evelyn Tomaszewski, Melissa Sellevaag, Jeremy Goldbach and Dianne Green SmitMembers of the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum: Mental Health Training and Education of Social Workers Project Advisory Committee broke into workgroups while meeting at NASW’s national office in May. From left are Evelyn Tomaszewski, Melissa Sellevaag, Jeremy Goldbach and Dianne Green Smith. (Photo by Paul Pace/NASW News)

The Advisory Committee of the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project met in May to discuss curricula and webinar content updates, workshop schedules and the NASW chapter partnership initiative that supports the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

The review included the Train the Trainers workshop model to ensure continued support of the 24 skilled trainers nationwide, and how to continue efforts to expand the knowledge and capacity of mental health service providers — particularly social workers — in providing prevention, education, care and treatment for those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS.

The training initiative will further position social workers as leaders in addressing the goals of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, said Evelyn Tomaszewski, NASW senior policy adviser and director of the Spectrum Project.

The committee also met with NASW member Douglas Brooks, the new director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, who provides oversight for the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

Committee member Lisa Cox, associate professor of social work and gerontology at the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, emphasized the significance of Brooks’ position at ONAP as a gay, African-American man living with HIV who is also a licensed clinical social worker.

“The meeting reflected an understanding of the important role of HIV/AIDS advocates, educators and practitioners to be part of agenda-setting and decision-making endeavors,” she said.

During the meeting, members highlighted the NASW Spectrum Project program model that has resulted in reaching more than 18,000 social workers and allied providers since 1998. Members stressed the success of workshops — hosted in collaboration with NASW chapters — in the communities specifically targeted by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, and translation of classroom content to direct practice settings.

“Over 50 percent of social work participants reported discussing the workshop information with colleagues and/or integrating the information into their client’s treatment plans,” said Jeremy Goldbach, project evaluator and assistant professor at the University of Southern California School of Social Work.

The Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has funded the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project since 1995.

Tomaszewski noted that throughout the tenure of the project, trainers, the advisory committee, NASW members, and the wider social work community have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring that professional social workers have the necessary HIV and mental health practice skills to enhance and promote culturally competent practice with individuals, families and communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

Get more information about the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project.