Preconference workshop to focus on HIV prevention among older population

Jeane AnastasNASW President Jeane Anastas delivers opening remarks at NASW’s 2012 Hope Conference. This year’s national conference will be held July 23-26 in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kea Taylor/Imagine Photography

Social workers can play a vital role in informing their aging clients about the importance of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention.

There is an uptick in the number of people in the aging population — those 50 and older — with HIV, said Cynthia Harris, special assistant for academic and student advancement and assistant professor at the Howard University School of Social Work in Washington, D.C.

One potential reason is that widows and widowers may not use sexual protection when they develop new relationships. This is because they did not use protection during their married years, Harris said.

In addition, many physicians make the assumption that their aging clients are not sexually active and the issue is not addressed until symptoms appear, she said.

“We might be embarrassed to ask older people about their sexual (or) drug use history and practices,” said Harris, adding that this needs to change.

Social worker Sherri Clark, program specialist in the Office of External Affairs in the Administration for Community Living, will join Harris in presenting “Concepts of Grief and Loss: HIV Prevention Amongst the Elderly” in a preconference workshop for the NASW national conference in July.

The conference, “Social Work: Courage, Hope & Leadership,” will take place July 23-26 in Washington, D.C. The July 23 preconference workshops are three-hour, intensive workshops for an additional fee.

Besides discussing the urgency of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention among the aging population, the workshop will examine the dimensions of the aging process, phases of grief and loss, and the convergence of these concepts with HIV/AIDS.

Other preconference workshops include:

  • Best Practices in Supervision by Marion Bogo, professor, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto.
  • Diversity, Cultural Competence and the Pursuit of Practice Excellence by Karen Bullock, professor at the School of Social Work at North Carolina State University.
  • The New Diagnostic Landscape:Understanding and Decoding the DSM-5 by Sophia Dziegielewski, professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Central Florida.
  • Building a Science of Social Work Practice by Jeane Anastas, president of NASW and professor at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University; and Cynthia Franklin, assistant dean for Doctoral Education and Stiernberg/Spencer Family Professor in Mental Health at the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin.
  • Ethics and Risk Management in the New Era of Social Work by Yvonne Chase, assistant professor at the University of Alaska/Anchorage.
  • Principles and Strategies for Undoing Institutional Racism in Health and Human Service Organizations by Joyce James of Joyce James Consulting; and Kimberly Richards, organizer and trainer at The Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond.

Additional conference highlights include:

  • Keynote speakers Brené Brown, best-selling author, research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, scholar and columnist for O, The Oprah Magazine; Robert Reich, a secretary of labor in former President Bill Clinton’s administration and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkley; and Steve Pemberton, author and chief diversity officer and divisional vice president at Walgreens.
  • A plenary session on “The Integration of Health and Behavioral Health: Are We Ready to Walk the Talk?” by Linda Rosenberg, CEO and president of the National Council for Behavioral Health; Enola Proctor, director of the Center for Mental Health Services Research at Washington University in St. Louis; and Paolo del Velcchio director of the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
  • A plenary session on “The Interface of Ethics and Technology” by Frederic G. Reamer, social work ethics expert and professor at the School of Social Work at Rhode Island College
  • More than 100 breakout sessions and the opportunity to earn up to 25 continuing education credits. The full schedule is online.
  • A special evening reception honoring NASW and NASW Foundation National Awards recipients.
  • A social work film festival, spotlighting films important to the profession.