Session: Black Men in Social Work (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

337 Black Men in Social Work

Sunday, January 15, 2023: 11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Desert Sky, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
Cluster: Black and African Diaspora Focused-Research
Christopher Robinson, DEd, Pennsylvania State University
Andre Harris, MSW, University of Houston, Christopher Robinson, DEd, Pennsylvania State University and Ed-Dee Williams, PhD, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
It is estimated that only 2% of Black men in the United States hold a BSW, with less than 2% possessing an MSW. Social Work has been assumed to be a pink-collar profession, which is not often considered by Black men as a desirable career field. Black male social workers are needed to fill gender/racial representation gaps, in addition to sharing nuanced perspectives in the field. Social work is one of the broadest fields of education and can lead to clinical/therapeutic practice, policy/legislative engagement, community organization/practice, and practice in systems and organizations. There are Black male social workers who work as clinicians as well as working for NFL teams. Exposing Black men to the opportunities that a social work education provides and the potential for a rewarding career field is crucial to recruiting more Black men in the field where they are disproportionately represented.

The field of social work is a rapidly growing field. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of social is estimated to grow an additional 12% over the next ten years, faster than most health science and service-based fields. Given the growth of the field of social work, it is imperative that social work begins addressing the low rate of Black men in the field. Historically, we have seen that when the field of social work is intentional about improving racial and gender representation in our profession, research, service, and advocacy for these underrepresented groups significantly increase. For example, the creation of the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan led to the development of the National Survey of Black Americans (NSBA). Data from the NSBA has been used hundreds of times, contributing to changes in social and public policy, new research methodologies, and knowledge about the experiences of Black Americans. Increasing the number of Black men in social work does more than diversify the field. It moves the field of social work forward in addressing the many needs of Black men in our society.

This collaborative roundtable session will include critical conversations about the lived experiences of Black male social workers in the United States. Our goal is to invigorate discussions that will promote an understanding of the shared contributions and experiences of Black males in the field. The Black Men in Social Work professional network consists of over 1,500 social workers from across the country. The network's leadership will officially reveal its mission, values, and vision statement to launch Black Men in Social Work. Each presenter will discuss their trajectory into the field while also discussing the challenges of navigating the social work profession as a Black male. Presenters will additionally focus on the cultural, educational, historical, professional, and racial identity themes of being a Black male. Roundtable attendees will participate in deep conversations by engaging in breakout sessions. This roundtable session will provide Black male social workers the opportunity to build community in the field to promote future collaboration, networking, and partnerships.

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