Social Work in Action (February 2014)

The Mexican Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Mexico City government, the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization organized two meetings in November during Violence Prevention Week from a Public Health Perspective.

The Best Practices in Violence Prevention Meeting and the 6th Milestones in a Global Campaign for Violence Prevention were held concurrently in Mexico City.

Evelyn Tomaszewski, senior policy adviser at NASW and a member of the Institute of Medicine Forum on Global Violence Prevention, was invited to participate in the event.

She said the gathering was an opportunity to highlight social work’s important role in identifying and addressing risk factors, and having the skills to address inequities and build programs that promote resiliency in communities.

“Research supports what social work practice has long understood, that we need to create integrated health and mental services that include a holistic and person-in-environment approach,” Tomaszewski said.

Both meetings gathered experts from 70 countries to discuss and evaluate violence-prevention progress made over the last five years. It was also an opportunity to share best practices in violence prevention.

Also in November was the International Conference on Stigma, which was held at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tomaszewski moderated a panel discussion at the event where stigma, as it relates to mental health issues and treatment, was discussed.

“It was an opportunity to participate in community outreach,” Tomaszewski said. Participants included health and mental health providers, as well as faith and community leaders and students and faculty, she said.

NASW continues to disseminate the newly released Institute of Medicine report “New Directions in Child Abuse and Neglect Research” to different stakeholders.

The report provides comprehensive information on child abuse and neglect, including the state of research and statistics that indicate changes since the previous report in 1993.

Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute, is a member of the IOM Consensus Committee that examined the research findings in the report.

Zlotnik discussed the document at the Federal Interagency Working Group on Child Abuse and Neglect in October and at the Association for Public Policy, Analytics and Management Conference in November.

On a related note, the Children’s Bureau in December released its latest annual report on child maltreatment. The report presents national data about child abuse and neglect known to child protective services agencies in the U.S. during federal fiscal year 2012.

In other NASW social work partnership news, Zlotnik was recently selected to serve on the external advisory group for the PARTner Project, which works to use patient navigators to help high-risk patients transfer from hospital to home successfully.

Zlotnik said she brings a social work perspective for the project, which is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute.

PCORI helps people make informed health care decisions and improves health care delivery and outcomes by producing and promoting high-integrity, evidence-based information that comes from research guided by patients, caregivers and the broader health care community.

NASW — with the Council on Social Work Education and the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care — sent a joint letter Nov. 8 to more than 300 program chairmen and chairwomen in college and university social work programs around the country, encouraging them to engage their students, faculty and alumni to advocate for the Medicaid expansion in their states.

The letter, signed by the leadership of the three associations, urges social work programs to advocate for expansion of Medicaid in order to provide health care to millions of low-income, uninsured adults and families. Currently, 25 states have opted to not expand their Medicaid programs, as provided by the Affordable Care Act.

Health care, social service and advocacy organizations are working to educate their governors and state legislators about the need for the expansion.

“Social work students, faculty and alumni are among our profession’s best advocates for social change,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain. “We hope to harness their energy and passion to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.”

The SCAN Foundation released a policy brief on care coordination in an integrated, person-centered system. NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman was one of 17 national content experts who participated in a September 2012 meeting to identify key features/principles of care coordination for older adults.

Social worker Monika White, adjunct professor at the USC school of social work and adjunct associate professor at the USC Davis School of Gerontology; and NASW members Robyn Golden, director of Health and Aging at Rush University Medical Center, and Fredda Vladeck, director of the Aging in Place Initiative at United Hospital Fund also participated in the September 2012 meeting.

To view the policy brief: Achieving Person-Centered Care Through Care Coordination