Social Work in Action (July 2012)

The fifth annual National Healthcare Decisions Day took place April 16 and NASW was among the 1,000 organizations and institutions that signed on to promote the initiative that encourages adults with decision-making capacity to engage in advance care planning.

Nathan A. Kottkamp, chairman of the NHDD initiative, said it is estimated that more than 40,000 people received direct information about the campaign and that at least 1,570 advance directive documents were completed at events that sponsored the campaign.

In social media, the NHDD Facebook account received 1,242 “likes” during the campaign, a rise from last year’s 1,000 “likes.” The other good news is that there were more than 1 million Facebook impressions of NHDD during the week of its promotion, thanks to the many organizations that sponsored it through their social media outlets.

“If we help even a few people, it makes it worth it in my eyes,” Kottkamp said of the effort.

The Collaborative for Enhancing Diversity in Science, of which NASW is an active member, hosted a workshop in May called Enhancing Diversity in Science: Working Together to Develop Common Data, Measures, and Standards (PDF). Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute, served as a member of the planning group and facilitator for the first half of the program.

About 80 representatives from academia, government entities, foundations, scientific societies, and university administration came together in Washington, D.C., to focus on methods to improve evaluation and data collection related to raising the number of minorities in the field of science.

“This is an important issue for social work,” Zlotnik said. “Although the profession is more diverse than many other disciplines, social workers continue to be underrepresented in research and there have been cuts to the Minority Fellowship Programs that for many years helped support social workers from underrepresented populations in their pursuit of doctoral degrees and research careers.”

Workshop speakers included social worker Ann Nichols-Casebolt, associate vice president for Research Development at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Funding for the workshop came from several offices and institutes at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation .

Along with NASW, other members of the collaborative include the Consortium for Social Sciences Associations; American Psychological Association; American Sociological Association; Society for Research on Child Development; American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Education Research Association; and the Association of American Medical Colleges.

NASW staff, as members of the Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths, attended a Capitol Hill briefing on May 24, hosted by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. Members of the coalition informed lawmakers that 15,510 children are known to have died from abuse and neglect between 2001 and 2010, according to federal data. The briefing provided information on the scope of fatal child abuse in America and a discussion of what the coalition knows that works to prevent such deaths. Attendees expressed the need to support the Protect Our Kids Act (H.R. 3653/S.1984).

Besides NASW, the coalition includes the National District Attorneys Association, National Children’s Alliance, the National Center for the Review and Prevention of Child Deaths, and Every Child Matters Education Fund.