Macro Social Work Marches On

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 @ 8:58AM

Two social work events of note will take place in the coming weeks. On Thursday, September 28th, the Maryland Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers will host its 5th Annual Macro Social Work Conference at the Maritime Institute of Technology Conference Center, 692 Maritime Boulevard Linthicum Heights, MD 21090. On Thursday and Friday, October 5th and 6th, the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work will bring its groundbreaking Campaign School to the District of Columbia at the DC Conference Center (at Judiciary Square Metro Station), 441 4th Street, NW, 11th Floor – Room 1107, Washington, DC 20001.

A highlight of the Maryland NASW’s conference will be the keynote speech by retired United States Senator Barbara Mikulski, a social worker, who is the longest serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress. A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, she was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1976 and later to the U.S. Senate in 1986. She was the top Democrat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. She is now a professor of public policy and adviser to the president at John Hopkins University. Dr. Daphne McClellan, executive director of NASW-MD, will be hosting a panel on New Social Work Licensing Laws and New Technology Standards for Macro Social Workers.

Barbara Mikulski

Humphreys Institute Director Tanya Rhodes Smith will bring the iconic political training seminar—in its 21st year of operation—to the nation’s capital. Hosted by George Mason University, Howard University, University of Maryland, CRISP, and NASW Maryland, Virginia and DC Chapters, training will be led by Kate Coyne-McCoy, known as the campaign fixer. A social worker, she has trained more than 8,000 political candidates, directly assisted with hundreds of successful campaigns, and has designed and implemented candidate support programs for the nation’s largest political action network, and for the Oval Office program at Harvard University. The Campaign School has trainings scheduled at The Ohio State University (October 26-27), New York City’s Yeshiva University (November 2-3), and Adelphi University in Poughkeepsie, NY (December 8). The annual Campaign School will be held at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work in Hartford, CT March 2 and 3, 2018.

Dr. Michael Reisch, the Daniel Thursz Distinguished Professor of Social Justice at the University of Maryland and one of the nation’s leading social work scholars, will participate in both events as interviewer and moderator for the keynote session with Barbara Mikulski, and as a panel moderator at the DC Campaign School.  “Social work can no longer promote itself as a ‘value-based profession,’ one that is committed to social justice, human dignity, and human rights, without recognizing the importance of organizing and advocating for these values at the community, organizational, societal, and global levels, and of playing a leadership role in formulating and implementing policies and programs that reflect them,” Dr. Reisch wrote in a recent article in the Journal of Social Work Education, 52(3), 1-11.

Celebrating these events is not about macro versus micro social work. This is about social work flexing its macro muscles while advancing the science that empowers social workers to enhance the lives of millions of Americans through direct and community services. This is about converting practice wisdom into sound policy. As more social workers are elected to political office, their policy choices will be informed by the work occurring in the various networks of the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work and other efforts to employ science and rigorous research to alleviate many of the nation’s social ills.

These efforts started long before the current occupant in the White House began destabilizing the political environment with charges of “fake news” and attacking people, places, and principles that helped build a durable if not equitable society. They are needed now more than ever. More social workers are needed to run for political office because our values, skills, and knowledge are profoundly needed in the political arena.

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