Social Work in Action (March 2014)

Two social workers have been selected to serve on the advisory committee for the U.S. Attorney General’s Task Force on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence.

The social workers are Eddie Brown, executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute and professor of American Indian Studies and School of Social Work at Arizona State University; and Marilyn Bruguier Zimmerman, director of the National Native Children’s Trauma Center at the University of Montana.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the task force is part of his Defending Childhood Initiative, a project that addresses the epidemic levels of exposure to violence that the nation’s children face.

The effort was created in response to a recommendation in a December 2012 final report of the Attorney General’s National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence.

It explains that American Indian and Alaska Native children have an exceptional degree of unmet needs for services and support to prevent and respond to the extreme levels of violence they experience.

NASW, as a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations, participated in a presentation to the National Institutes of Health’s Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Coordinating Committee in January. NASW Social Work Policy Institute Director Joan Levy Zlotnik presented “Addressing Diversity and Disparities: Implications for Science and Scientists” at the event.

She discussed the initiatives to strengthen and expand social work research contributions at the NIH and collaborations with the national scientific community related to the Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity in Science initiative.

Get more information, Enhancing Diversity in Science.

Zlotnik also participated in a joint presentation called “Building Research Capacity in Social Work” at the annual Society for Social Work Research conference in January.

The session, aimed at deans and directors, faculty, doctoral students, and others fostering research initiatives within social work education programs, examined specific strategies for building research infrastructure and capacity, including obtaining grants and building community agency/university research partnerships.

The newly released Institute of Medicine report, “New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research: Findings from the IOM,” was also discussed in a special session at the SSWR conference.

Zlotnik, a member of the IOM Consensus Committee that examined the research findings in the report, co-hosted the session.

The new Hospice Foundation of America program “Helping Adolescents Cope with Loss” is to be presented in cooperation with NASW.

NASW member Stacy Orloff, vice president of palliative care and community programs at Suncoast Hospice, will be one of the presenters.

Orloff and NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman represented NASW in the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, which released the third edition of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care last March.

Organizations may register as a site to host the HFA program. Registered sites may either participate in the live webcast on April 10 or show the program — in archived webcast or DVD format — on any date through April 9, 2015.

Individual social workers may contact HFA to find a host site in their area. Each program participant may earn three CE credits, approved by NASW.

On Dec. 19, the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs convened a dialogue between community organizations and governmental agencies to talk about criminal and juvenile justice re-entry policies.

Co-hosts of the meeting were Karol Mason, director of the DOJ Office of Justice Programs, and Charles Samuels, director of the Bureau of Prisons, said Mel Wilson, manager of NASW’s Department of Social Justice and Human Rights. Wilson represented NASW at the roundtable.

More than 100 people from a variety of organizations that are part of the Justice Roundtable Coalition attended the event. They include federal agencies that serve on the Attorney General’s Reentry Taskforce.

NASW was one of a limited number of nongovernmental organizations that was given a designated seat and asked to speak on behalf of the coalition. Wilson’s statement related to behavioral health policies in Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act that target low-income criminal justice and juvenile justice-involved persons.

Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the group and delivered a message of support for working with the community to stem the growth of incarceration in the United States.

He also emphasized that the issue of re-entry and other criminal and juvenile justice reforms will be a high priority for DOJ and the White House this year.

On Jan. 25, NASW participated in a 90-minute workshop at the Families USA conference “Health Action 2014: Making the Promise Real,” which was held at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Mel Wilson, manager of NASW’s Department of Social Justice and Human Rights, moderated the Effective Outreach and Enrollment Strategies for Specific Populations workshop, which discussed state and national policies that improve access of vulnerable populations to behavioral health care through the Affordable Care Act.

Wilson said the special populations of concern include the homeless and justice-involved and low-income persons with addictions and/or mental health problems. Politico’s web-based magazine reported on the panel.

The NASW Foundation received a $25,000 grant in December from the New York Community Trust Robert and Ellen Popper Scholarship Fund to expand the existing scholarship/fellowship programs and provide professional mentorship and leadership development opportunities for the award recipients.

Specifically, the grant will be used for the Eileen Blackey doctoral fellowship in welfare policy and Verne Lyons master’s level scholarships in health/mental health practice.

Get more information about the NASW Foundation scholarships and fellowships and The New York Community Trust.