Session: Advocacy and Public Policy Formation during the COVID-19 Pandemic (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

46 Advocacy and Public Policy Formation during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Wednesday, January 20, 2021: 2:45 PM-3:45 PM
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Sarah Butts, LMSW, National Association of Social Workers, Darla Coffey, PhD, Council on Social Work Education, Ron Manderscheid, PhD, National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors, Jonathan Singer, PhD, and Karina Walters, PhD, University of Washington
The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has surfaced many of our most pressing social policy problems and proved to be both a public health and economic crisis. One way that social workers can be effective change agents is to be involved in policy advocacy from positions of leadership inside and outside of the profession (CSWE Futures Task Force, 2018. In this roundtable session, representatives from the Grand Challenges for Social Work, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare, the National Association of Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education, the Society for Social Work and Research, the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, the National Association of Rural Mental Health and the American Association of Suicidology will outline key issues that have surfaced, such as lack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for social workers and other essential healthcare providers; enabling telehealth practice flexibilities, and addressing critical access barriers to mental and behavioral health services. Impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable individuals and under-served communities and related advocacy by our respective groups, will also be presented. Presenters will discuss how they have advocated for legislative changes with Congress, federal agencies and coalitions during the initial days and weeks of the pandemic. Some key victories including approval and reimbursement of audio-only telehealth psychotherapy services in Medicare and progress on pandemic workforce efforts including student loan debt relief, and hazard pay for frontline workers, will be shared.

The roundtable presenters will also discuss how advocacy and public policy can be improved for the social work field. Drawing from real-life experiences and examples, presenters will outline new roles for faculty to meaningfully engage in advocacy, including the importance of coalition affiliation, taking on organizational leadership roles and leveraging media opportunities that connect key research findings to policy proposals. Presenters will also provide commentary on what post COVID-19 implications can be expected.

The roundtable is the ideal format for this discussion because participants will leave with a better understanding of how legislative issues are framed, the value of having social work scholars in leadership positions inside and outside of the social work profession, and how scholarship can inform policies that improve the health and well-being of social workers and the people we serve.

See more of: Roundtables