Reprinted from NASW News, April 2018
Forty-eight BSW and MSW students from across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., in March for educational sessions on health care, leadership and advocacy activities on Capitol Hill as part of the Social Work Health Care Education and Leadership Scholars (Social Work HEALS) Student Policy Summit.
The summit, which was hosted at NASW's national office, provided an opportunity for emerging social work leaders to learn about and participate in the policymaking process.
HEALS students pose for a photo at the U.S. Capitol in March
The HEALS Summits are part of the Social Work HEALS program, a five-year, $2.5 million grant the New York Community Trust awarded to the NASW Foundation and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
The HEALS program also incorporates and supplements the Foundation’s existing Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship and Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial MSW Scholarships.
NASW CEO and Foundation President Angelo McClain and CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey welcomed students to the summit.
Social workers in health care policy; the former HEALS policy fellow, JaNeen Cross; and social workers who work on Capitol Hill shared personal stories with the students about the important role of social work in shaping and implementing health policy.
Students also met with about 25 congressional offices and left educational materials with several offices where meetings were not available.
The HEALS scholars are selected annually from the 10 schools of social work that are participating in the HEALS project, and the four NASW Foundation Lyons MSW scholars are included.
Students from the Southern University at New Orleans group met with U.S. Rep Cedric Richmond, D-La., and one of the HEALS scholars was able to meet directly with social worker and U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.
Students generally discussed with their representative offices H.R. 1290, the Improving Access to Mental Health Act; and H.R. 1484, the Social Worker Safety Act and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
NASW and CSWE partner to implement the Social Work HEALS program. It aspires to educate and train social workers from the BSW to post-doctoral levels to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the U.S.
For more information: naswfoundation.org; cswe.org.