Session: Withdrawn: Examining the Intersection of Neuroscience, Trauma, and Social Policy (Society for Social Work and Research 26th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Racial, Social, and Political Justice)

260 Withdrawn: Examining the Intersection of Neuroscience, Trauma, and Social Policy

Saturday, January 15, 2022: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
Treasury, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington, DC)
Cluster: Social Work Practice
Jennifer Williams, PhD, Barry University, Mitchell Rosenwald, PhD, Barry University and Maria Teahan, PhD, Barry University
Advances in neuroscience research have revolutionized the scientific community’s understanding of brain behavior connections. This emerging data has provided new insights into biology’s contributions to social work’s multilayered biopsychosocial model. Historically, social work has placed a lesser emphasis on the biological side of this perspective. However, new findings from neuroscience are providing strong evidence for how individuals interact with and adapt to the environment. As a result, there has been a call to include neuroscience in social work education as well as all levels of social work practice. Much has been written about the integration of this emerging knowledge into human behavior as well as into clinical, micro practice. However, little has focused specifically on how these findings translate in ways that directly benefit populations in macro practice. New knowledge gained from neuroscience allow social workers to look outside the channels of evidence that are typically used to inform policy at all levels.

Neurobiological research on the impact trauma has on the brain and body has deepened our understanding of the interaction between biology and the social environment. Research shows that trauma does not affect everyone equally as various factors such as the quality of social supports one has, the development/age of the person, as well as existing strengths and risks of the person at the time of the trauma, are partially dependent on a person’s resiliency. As such, many health and social problems are linked to trauma. While research in neurobiology and trauma continues to emerge, rarely are these topics examined in relation to social policy. The integration of these three topics can lead to the development and improvement of social policies, particularly to marginalized and disenfranchised populations.

This roundtable session will begin a dialogue about the intersection of neurobiology, trauma, and social policy for various populations. Presenters will focus particular attention on the neurobiology of stress and trauma and its connection to macro social work. For example, one presenter will discuss a foundation for understanding the structure and function of the brain in relation to stress and trauma. Another presenter will review work on historical trauma as well as factors that play a role in resilience. A third presenter will examine how social policy can be informed by neuroscience research. Our goal is to stimulate conversation that will promote understanding of the shared contributions and challenges of research on neurobiology, trauma, and social policy, ways to further integration across these three topics, as well as, emerging areas of scholarship.

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