Session: Leveraging Social Work Research Expertise to Influence Public Policy to Improve American's Wellbeing (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

225 Leveraging Social Work Research Expertise to Influence Public Policy to Improve American's Wellbeing

Saturday, January 18, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Marquis BR Salon 12, ML 2 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Organizations & Management (O&M)
Sarah Gehlert, PhD, University of South Carolina, Ron Manderscheid, PhD, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors, Martell Teasley, PhD, University of Utah, Angelo McClain, PhD, National Association of Social Workers and Sarah Butts, LMSW, National Association of Social Workers
A paradigm shift in the relationship between research and policy is needed to address society's most vexing social problems. We are facing unprecedented political polarization and partisanship at a time when we know research results routinely take 20+ years to enter practice. This lag in “discovery to implementation” is especially problematic for social work because of its commitment to improving the life conditions of vulnerable individuals, groups, and communities, whose functioning is challenged by increasingly restrictive local, state, and federal policies. Ensuring that social work research reaches key policy makers to inform and influence policy is dependent on the ability of social work researchers, advocates, policy administrators, and legislators to communicate in a way that is timely and effective and speeds translation.

In this session, representatives from the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, the Grand Challenges for Social Work, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Association of Deans and Directors of Social Work will present their positions on how to achieve optimal communication between their groups to accelerate the flow of research findings to inform policy. The group of presenters will use the real-life example of gun violence in schools, relying on a jointly-sponsored June 2019 Congressional Briefing in which they participated. New roles for faculty in advocacy will be discussed, including the importance of coalition affiliation and development; faculty involvement in drafting and presenting testimony; congressional briefings and visits with elected representatives to explain key research findings that support legislation, as well as relationship development with other national organizations.

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