Social Work’s Voice in Congress

Asua OfosuAsua Ofosu is the new manager of government relations for NASW’s national office.

Asua Ofosu, who has worked as a senior government relations associate since joining NASW in 2006, has taken the helm of the department at a pivotal point in national politics.

The 112th Congress began in earnest with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives voting 245-189 to repeal the NASW-supported 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Republican leadership has made known their desire to reduce or eliminate federal programs and funding on which social workers and their clients depend in an attempt to rein in federal spending.

Ofosu said her biggest priority is raising the profile of the social work profession before Congress, and much of the work of her department in the near future will focus on educating members of Congress about the social work profession and its clients.

“There are a lot of new members who need to know of the invaluable contributions social workers make to society,” said Ofosu.

Her vision for the government relations department, said Ofosu, “is to build on the foundation of social advocacy and to position NASW to be the legislative voice for the profession, so that when there is an issue on Capitol Hill, lawmakers and their staff immediately think of us as a resource.”

Ofosu, who says she has always been fascinated by politics, is not daunted by the challenge. In fact, she downplays the acrimony between Republicans and Democrats.

“Whereas other countries have coups and riots, we have the political process,” she said.

NASW’s government relations department will continue to push for passage of the Social Work Reinvestment Act. The legislative agenda also includes passage of social worker safety legislation and securing funding for social work research and training. In addition, the government relations department will advocate for legislation pertaining to civil rights, health and behavioral health, veterans and children and families.

Prior to joining NASW, Ofosu, a former Hill staffer, was the senior legislative representative for the American Thoracic Society, where she handled research and advocacy issues dealing with lung disease.

From 1999 to 2002, she was legislative manager in the health care practice group of Smith, Bucklin & Associates Inc. In that capacity, she represented a variety of health care clients, including the American Society of Nephrology, American Psychiatric Nurses Association and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

In addition to her work at NASW, Ofosu spends many hours volunteering for organizations that advocate for women, health and children. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and a board member of Witney’s Lights, a non-profit domestic violence awareness and education organization.

Ofosu holds a law degree from Widener University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Delaware State University.

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