In Brief: June / July 2023

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Coalition Receives Advocacy Award

Dina Kastner holds the award

NASW is a member of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness coalition, which comprises more than 90 organizations committed to supporting Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The coalition received the American Bar Association’s Grassroots Advocacy Award earlier in 2023.

Pictured: Dina Kastner, MSS, MLSP, senior field organizer at NASW, holds the award.

About 200 leaders of the national legal community gathered for the ceremony, where the ABA presented its highest award for advocacy to the PSLF Coalition.

The Federal Public Service Loan program was created in 2007, in no small part due to the advocacy of NASW and the Council on Social Work Education, noted Kenneth J. Goldsmith, senior legislative counsel and director for state legislation for the ABA.

The program was designed to help those committed to laudable public service careers for which an advanced degree was necessary for professional licensure.

Goldsmith said that thanks to the coalition’s efforts, there is now a bipartisan Public Service Loan Forgiveness caucus in Congress. 

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness website is a rich repository of webinars, letters, research, and personal stories — all speaking to the program’s impact.

Amicus Brief Challenges Death Penalty Case of Texas Mother

Supreme Court

NASW and the American Psychological Association (APA) filed an amicus brief in support of a challenge to the death penalty case of Melissa Lucio, who was scheduled to be executed in Texas in April 2022 as a result of a false confession.

NASW’s amicus brief provided research on the various interrogation techniques and dispositional factors that increase the risk of a false confession, such as sleep deprivation, individuals with intellectual disability, lengthy interrogations, and other psychologically coercive tactics, several of which were a part of Lucio’s interrogation.

On April 25, 2022, just two days before the scheduled date of execution, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals halted Lucio’s execution and sent the case back to the trial court for further proceedings. NASW said it is pleased the amicus brief was able to play a role in this important measure of justice.

This and other NASW amicus briefs are available at the NASW Legal Defense Fund Amicus Brief Database (NASW members only.)

Social Work Pioneer Named One of USA Today’s Women of the Year


In recognition of her lifelong contributions to promoting American Indians in social work education, NASW Social Work Pioneer® Hilary N. Weaver was named one of USA Today’s Women of the Year.

The article notes that in 2017, Weaver became the youngest person to be awarded the American Indian Elder Award from the Indigenous and Tribal Social Work Educators’ Association. In 2020, NASW inducted her as a Social Work Pioneer.

Weaver holds a doctorate in social work, is the board chair of the Council on Social Work Education, the inaugural global indigenous commissioner for the International Federation of Social Workers, and president of the Indigenous and Tribal Social Work Educators Association. 

As a social worker, educator and researcher, most of her work focuses on the importance of culture in helping processes, with a particular focus on indigenous people and a secondary focus on refugees.

cover of June / July 2023 issue

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