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Field Education Office Professional Development Series
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Field Education Office Professional Development Series
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Field Education Office Professional Development Series

IMG 556403.17.2017

CoSW BSW students Jordan Thompson and Dee Gamble and MSW students Andrea Johnson and Akua Adams had the exciting opportunity to participate in the March 2017 Social Work Health Care Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS) Student Policy Summit in Washington, DC, hosted by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). As Social Work HEALS scholars, these four CoSW students joined social work students from across the country in DC to hear from Angelo McClain the CEO of NASW and Darla Spence Coffey, the President and CEO of CSWE as well as many other health policy speakers about how they can make a difference in health social work. These students also had the opportunity to meet with staff in Senator Lindsey Graham’s office and talk about mental health issues in SW. Lead by CoSW faculty Drs. Teri Browne and Melissa Reitmeier, ours is one of only ten schools of social work chosen to participate in this scholarship program. These students have field placements at Providence Hospital, Regency Hospice, Rice Estate Rehabilitation Center and Richland County Public Defenders Office. The Social Work HEALS program also provides support and resources for their field instructors, including a national meeting at the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care conference.

Two of our students describe their experience.

“As HEALS Scholars, we attended a Policy Summit in Washington D.C. Tuesday and Wednesday of last week.  On Tuesday, we attended the main portion of the policy summit where we heard from social workers involved in policy.  It was very encouraging to hear about the impact that social workers can make on Capitol Hill.  Hearing from these social workers definitely made me more interested in policy and encouraged me to keep an open mind when choosing what area of the field I want to go into.  Wednesday was the day that we met with legislators on Capitol Hill.  My colleagues and I had a meeting planned with Lindsey Graham’s staff.  His staff was gracious and informative and answered all of our questions about healthcare reform.  We focused primarily on the importance of mental health parity laws that were put in place through the Affordable Care Act.  At the time of the meeting, the staffers were unsure if this would stay in the new healthcare legislation.  Unfortunately, I have learned that it will not.  It was an amazing experience to be on Capitol Hill in the middle of it all.  This trip made me realize that social workers can make a difference and impact legislation.  It was an incredible experience and we had a great time.  We all want to continue advocating for healthcare accessibility and social justice in our community.” - Andrea Johnson, MSW Student

“It was a very informative exploration.  This opportunity unveiled a different perspective of social work; merging macro and micro into the same agenda.  In a special way, Washington D.C. is a virtual monument to the minds and hearts of the critical thinking skills the curriculum encourage.  As we marched up the Hill, we thought of the impact we wanted to deliver.  We carried concerns from our home states.  Visiting museums, monuments, and the national cemetery ignited a reason to continue to stand on our beliefs and charge us to proclaim "a change."  The songwriter, Sam Cooke, sung A Change Gonna Come.  We must identify with the change we want to see and be the power to drive it into place.  We are social workers.” - Bobby D. Gamble, BSW Student

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