Session: How to Prepare Social Workers for Emancipatory and Meaningful Research? Neuroscientific Principles to Unleash Brain Potential (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

43 How to Prepare Social Workers for Emancipatory and Meaningful Research? Neuroscientific Principles to Unleash Brain Potential

Thursday, January 13, 2022: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Independence BR A, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Research on Social Work Education
Jessica Black, PhD, Boston College, Ricardo Diego Suarez Rojas, MA, Boston College and Darcey Merritt, PhD, New York University
Social work education is a crucial issue for public health, given that social workers occupy essential positions to promote healing and institutional transformation. The profession has several demands, challenges, and risk factors, thus requiring researchers and service providers to have a high degree of resiliency. Therefore, their training must encourage their creativity, self-care, and adaptability. However, current studies reveal that plenty of social work students in the United States grapple with stressful learning environments, imposter syndrome, and secondary traumatic stress. These risk factors do not only have detrimental consequences for student health, but also for the communities they serve. In response, this workshop will address how a critical neuroscience framework can become a foundation for enhancing training on research skills. Therefore, participants will learn some of the latest findings in neuroscience while acquiring specific guidelines on how to improve their own scientific development and that of their students. The panel will consist of the following scholars: a professor and a pioneer in introducing neuroscience into clinical and macro training, and a chair of graduate education at one of the best social work programs in the nation; a professor with international expertise in policy, research, and practice regarding human development, as well as being an experimented instructor of research methodology; and a bioethicist and doctoral student with more than ten years of experience in uniting the arts, the humanities, and the social and life sciences in teaching and program design, both in higher education and community settings in Mexico and the United States. This workshop will explore the following questions: 1) Why is it relevant to integrate neuroscience for developing a scientific and creative mindset? The panelists will provide a solid foundation for understanding how stress, boredom, and trauma severely impact brain potential. They will emphasize the importance of joy and imagination for enhancing the production of knowledge. 2) What are the implications of neuroscientific principles in social work research? This section will consist of an ethical argument regarding the significance of bridging the gap between what we know (science) and what we do (social services). A consideration of how this scientific knowledge can help in the healing of intergenerational trauma will be central. 3) How can social work schools implement a neuroscience-informed framework towards research? For the conclusion, the presenters will share specific, daily actions to promote cognitive potential. By delving into the neurobiology of perception, participants will learn how to maximize health, equity, and inclusion in their own research, while simultaneously inspiring their students to reach higher integrity in research and practice. During this ninety-minute session, the panelists will lead by example: their presentation will employ several modalities (e.g., images, brain diagrams, music, body movement, gestures) to illustrate the importance of neuroscience-informed research practices across the mixed-methods spectrum. Therefore, the format will be engaging and dialogical while also demonstrating the principles that the audience will acquire.
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