Touro College Joins Social Work Education Leaders for White House Briefing in Washington, D.C.
Director of Communications
New York, N.Y. - Approximately 160 leaders in social work education gathered recently in the nation’s capital for a White House briefing from senior executives in the Obama administration to discuss the future of health care and identify a path forward for social work education in the new era.
Dr. Jennifer R. Zelnick, associate professor and social welfare policy sequence chair at the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work represented Touro at the event. The occasion was hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Dwight D. Eisenhower executive office building and organized and sponsored by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the national accrediting body for social work education.
“As we enter a new era with the Affordable Care Act, it is important that social work be at the table,” said Dr. Zelnick. “Given our experience working with those who bear the brunt of social problems, and our rich understanding of how social circumstances shape health and well-being, social workers are natural leaders in integrated health care teams.”
Titled “Addressing the Social Determinants of Health in a New Era: The Role of Social Work Education,” the briefing was conducted by representatives from a variety of federal agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health. The speakers touched on emerging needs in behavioral health in the United States, new expectations under the Affordable Care Act, and social work’s role in building capacity to meet U.S. needs for mental health, substance abuse, aging, and disability in an increasingly diverse context.
“We organized this event with two goals” said Darla Spence Coffey, president and CEO of CSWE. “We wanted to both inform social work educators of the historic changes and opportunities, but we also wanted to provide an opportunity for agency leaders to get a firsthand experience of the resources that social work brings in terms of understanding and addressing the social determinants of health.”
Participants, including deans, directors and social work faculty from across the country, learned about federal campaigns to reduce stigma in mental health and increase the quality of long term care and disability services. Attendees also heard about less-discussed portions of the new federal health care bill that make substantial investments in public health, and fund integrated health care teams that include social workers.
Photos are copyright 2013 by Council on Social Work Education. Reprinted with permission.