Social Work in Action (April 2014)

Social workers have been selected to serve on the National Academies ad hoc committee “Developing Evidence-Based Standards for Psychosocial Interventions for Mental Disorders.”

The committee is charged with developing efficacy standards for psychosocial interventions used to treat mental disorders. Members will explore strategies that different stakeholders might take to help establish these standards for psychosocial treatments.

Social workers on the committee include Enola Proctor, director of the Center for Mental Health Services Research at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis; John Brekke, the Frances G. Larson professor of Social Work Research at the University of Southern California School of Social Work; and Myrna Weissman, the Diane Goldman Kemper Family professor of epidemiology in psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and chief of the division of epidemiology at New York State Psychiatric Institute.

NASW and the National Institutes of Health are among the project sponsors.

NASW celebrated the news that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 includes funding to continue and expand the Leadership Training in Social Work program.

For more than 40 years, the Maternal and Child Health Bureau provided grants to train social work leaders. In 2012, grantees learned that the MCHB was not planning to continue to fund several discipline-specific grants, including social work.

NASW, the grantees and the Council on Social Work Education met MCHB and Health Resources & Services Administration leadership to urge continuation of the grants.

They also sought the help of U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who is a social worker. Mikulski sent a letter to HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, stressing the importance of maintaining the training grants.

Wakefield responded with the good news that the department would maintain the MCHB program by incorporating it into the Bureau of Health Professions program.

The program was not only saved in the 2014 budget agreement, its funding was also expanded by $1 million.

The Child Protection in Crisis Learning Network and the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance hosted the second part of a three-part symposium series, “Measuring the Immeasurable: Building the Evidence Necessary for Effective Child Protection and Family Welfare Policies and Programs” on Feb. 19 at Columbia University in New York City.

Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Foundation’s Social Work Policy Institute, participated in a panel discussion called “The State of the Evidence Concerning Social Service Workforce Strengthening.” She also presented on the state of evidence concerning social services workforce strengthening efforts, and offered suggestions for improvements through policy changes.

New NASW members have been appointed to the Joint Commission’s Professional and Technical Advisory Committees. The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 20,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

NASW serves on PTACs for three Joint Commission accreditation programs. These include: Behavioral Health; Home Care (which includes home health and hospice); and Nursing Care Centers. NASW representation on the PTACs is a joint venture involving collaboration between members in the field and national office staff.

The following NASW members were appointed to represent the association in the PTACs for the year 2014-15:

  • Home Care: Samantha Thomas, representative (clinical operations analyst/patient and family advocate, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care); and Vernon “Skip” Krause, alternate representative (clinical specialist-social work, Gilchrist Hospice Care)
  • Nursing Care Centers: Paige Hector, representative (clinical educator and consultant); Robin P. Bonifas, alternate representative (assistant professor, School of Social Work, Arizona State University)
  • Behavioral Health: Greg Jensen, representative.

NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman will continue to work with both the Home Care and Nursing Care Centers PTACs in a liaison role, and NASW Senior Practice Associate Sharon Issurdatt Dietsche is the staff liaison to the Behavioral Health PTAC.

The following NASW PTAC representatives stepped down at the end of 2013 following six years of service:

  • Home Care: Elizabeth de la Ossa, representative (internal compliance advocate, fiscal intermediary review team, VITAS Innovative Hospice Care); NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman, alternate representative
  • Nursing Care Centers: Lisa E. Cox, representative (associate professor and research chairwoman at the Stockton College Center on Successful Aging, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey); and NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman, alternate representative.

The Forum on Global Violence Prevention of the Institute of Medicine sponsored a workshop called “Mental Health and Violence: Opportunities for Prevention and Early Intervention,” which explored approaches to improving both mental health and violence prevention.

The objectives were to arrive at a better understanding of the intersections between mental health and violence and explore a new model for thinking about the intersections of mental health promotion and violence prevention that is useful for improving outcomes.

NASW Senior Policy Adviser Evelyn Tomaszewski is a member of the Forum on Global Violence Prevention.

President Obama’s Working Group on the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities met in February, which was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

According to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, the meeting focused on the report “Addressing the Intersection of HIV/AIDS, Violence against Women and Girls, and Gender-Related Health Disparities.” The report discusses ways to improve health and wellness for women by screening for both intimate-partner violence (IPV) and HIV, and focusing on improving outcomes for women in HIV care by addressing violence and trauma.

NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project Senior Policy Adviser Evelyn Tomaszewski said the meeting provided an opportunity for diverse groups — government, community-based organizations, donors, and persons living with HIV/AIDS and /or survivors of abuse — to meet and identify opportunities for collaboration.