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NASW Creates Media Advisory Board to Increase Social Work Awareness

Advisors Include Social Workers, News Media and Entertainment Industry Allies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has formed an advisory board of Hollywood writers, award-winning journalists, social workers involved in media and others to help educate the public about social workers and increase awareness of the profession.

The NASW Communications Network (NCN) Advisory Committee members include author and Pulitzer-winning Washington Post reporter Kirstin Downey; Academy Award-nominated director and screenwriter Oren Moverman; social worker, anger management expert and movie consultant George Anderson; author and screenwriter Antwone Fisher; and social worker, author and national columnist Sherry Amatenstein.

The NCN Advisory Committee will identify ways to promote social work roles in television and film, position more social workers as consumer education experts, inform public policy debates with social work research, and increase interest among students about the social work profession.

NASW’s media advisors are:

  • Sherry Amatenstein, MSW, LMSW: Social worker, author, columnist and talk show guest.
  • George Anderson, MSW: Social worker, anger management firm owner and movie consultant.
  • Matt Anderson, MSW: Social worker and documentary film producer.
  • Matt Conn: Communications director at the University of Maryland at Baltimore School of Social Work, and university admissions expert.
  • Kirstin Downey: Author, award-winning journalist and former Washington Post reporter.
  • Suzanne Dworak-Peck, MSW: Past president of NASW, past president of the International Federation of Social Workers, founder of the NASW Communications Network.
  • Antwone Fisher: Author of “Antwone Fisher,” screenwriter and former foster child.
  • Kathy Gurland, MSW: Social worker, founder of “Peg’s Group” cancer consulting service, national columnist and former actress.
  • Jenna Mehnert, MSW: Social worker, NASW-Pennsylvania executive and former political staffer.
  • Oren Moverman: Oscar-nominated movie director, screenwriter and former reporter.
  • Maribel Quiala, MSW, LCSW: Social worker, women’s health and Latina issues media expert.
  • Ellen Rostand, MBA: Assistant dean for communications, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University. Former health care communications executive.
  • Terrie Williams, MSW: Social worker, author, PR firm and Stay Strong Foundation founder.

“In every community, social workers provide services that help families, children, elders and veterans overcome obstacles and live more fulfilling lives,” said NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark, Ph.D., ACSW, MPH. “These uplifting stories and proven tools for survival can benefit millions of people.

NASW’s new media advisory committee builds on the work of NASW Past President Suzanne Dworak-Peck, who founded the NASW Communications Network in the early 1990s. Part of the network’s duties include acting as a Hollywood referral source. NCN has now been incorporated into the multi-year National Social Work Public Education Campaign, which is made possible by donations made to the NASW Foundation.

Since the awareness campaign launched in 2005, NASW has placed print ads in national women’s magazines, conducted national consumer issue surveys, placed billboards around state capitals and in Times Square, implemented social media campaigns, aired a national video, built a series of educational websites, and connected hundreds of media professionals with social work experts. NASW recently expanded its earned media strategy to develop new relationships in the entertainment industry and offers three public education sites:

“Social work is an exciting and rewarding profession that sometimes does not get the notice and respect it deserves in media and society,” Clark said. “We are confident that the accomplished members of our new advisory committee can attract civic-minded students to the profession, help more people find and support social work services in their communities, and include social work perspectives in a variety of media.”

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 145,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.