Expert Referral List to Be Expanded

Social workers are engaged in a variety of fields and specialties. To help highlight this important detail, NASW is expanding its expert referral list for National Professional Social Work Month, which is celebrated every March.

“All People Matter” is this year’s theme for the campaign that promotes the value of social work and puts a spotlight on social workers’ vital contribution to society.

As a way to promote social work’s significance through media outlets, NASW’s communications staff will launch a 1,000 Experts Campaign to help connect the right people to various media inquiries.

“We get media requests from all over, and subjects can vary widely,” said Greg Wright, senior public relations and communications specialist at NASW. “One day it can be a child welfare issue, another day it can be a request for comments on a mental health topic.”

“We are expanding contacts in our in-house database so we can respond to more media opportunities in a timely and efficient way,” Wright said. “There are a lot of social workers who are stars in their fields. We want to identify hundreds of social workers who are subject-matter experts and help them to get noticed by the media.”

Being considered a specialist is a member benefit as well, Wright said.

“When a news article or TV interview identifies you as an expert, it can result in more hits from online search engines, thus more people will be able to find you,” he said.

“Having a stable of excellent media spokespeople on hand also makes NASW more attractive to journalists and other influencers,” Wright added. “We want to be the go-to place when the media are looking for experts on subjects related to social work.”

NASW Communications will create a related experts search tool for members and the public using content from the 1,000 experts database. The resource will be accessible through and

Wright said another way to promote the value of social work in shaping media and entertainment is by recognizing media professionals who help raise awareness about social work and social work issues.

NASW will do just that through its third annual Media Awards in March. More than 1,700 social workers and others voted on nominees in last’s year contest, which was more than double the amount of ballots cast in the previous year, Wright noted. Nominations will be accepted through Jan. 31 and voting will take place in March.

Recent examples of social work experts quoted in the media:

  • NASW member Alma Schneider is a licensed clinical social worker and a cooking coach. She was interviewed for a Bloomer podcast on ways baby boomers can cook more healthy foods.
  • Tricia Bent-Goodley, chairwoman of the NASW National Committee on Women’s Issues and professor of social work at Howard University, offered her insight into domestic violence in an Associated Press story. The article aimed to shed light on the tragedy of mass killings that took place in four different states within four days.
  • Tracy Whitaker, director of the Center for Workforce Studies and Social Work Practice at NASW, was interviewed for her suggestion of alternative degrees for students interested in psychology. The story was posted on the Yahoo! Education website. Students who want a similar degree but with better employment opportunities should look into a degree in social work, the story says.