Social Work in Action (September 2013)

NASW staff participated in two events at the White House on June 13 in honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.

Evelyn Tomaszewski, senior policy adviser for the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project, said in a blog posting that NASW staff from the Office of Social Justice and Human Rights, the Legal Defense Fund, and the Office of Ethics and Professional Review participated in the LGBT Pride Month Briefing at the White House.

They heard from Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, who spoke about the impact of the HIV epidemic, with particular emphasis on gay youth of color. Colfax discussed the importance of training programs, such as the NASW HIV/AIDS Spectrum Project, in the efforts to reach out to disenfranchised and at-risk communities.

The blog noted that later that evening, Tomaszewski and NASW CEO Angelo McClain attended the LGBT Pride Month White House Reception. President Obama and Vice President Biden were in attendance, and Obama spoke to the standing room-only crowd.

NASW Senior Practice Associate Chris Herman stepped down from the National Coalition on Mental Health and Aging executive committee in June following two consecutive two-year terms as an at-large member. Social worker Anita Rosen also stepped down as the NCMHA vice chairwoman, preceded by two terms as an at-large representative. Moving into leadership roles at NCMHA are the following social workers: Kim Williams as executive committee chairwoman; Viviana Criado as the state and local coalition representative; and Kim Burton, who will be an at-large representative.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations launched World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in June 2006. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, WEAAD was created to promote a better understanding across all communities of elder abuse, and the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

The events for WEAAD in June included a Capitol Hill reception, where Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and Administrator for the Administration on Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee both spoke. An international event at the United Nations in honor of WEAAD featured remarks from Greenlee and representatives from the U.N., Africa, Canada and Europe.

The Capitol Hill event was sponsored by the Elder Justice Coalition, of which NASW is a member. Other activities surrounding WEAAD included conferences, media stories and information dissemination to increase professional and public understanding of elder abuse, which affects more than one in 10 older Americans annually.

Social worker Lynn Feinberg gave a presentation in May to the Institute of Medicine Committee. The presentation, called “Approaching Death: Addressing Key End-of-Life Issues,” focused on the circumstances and needs of family caregivers, current policies supporting family caregivers, and policy recommendations to support family caregiving at the end of life. The IOM Committee meeting took place in Stanford, Calif.