2017 Social Work HEALS Policy Summit

March 31, 2017
2017 Social Work HEALS scholars at Policy Summit with Senator Al Franken
2017 Social Work HEALS Scholars with Senator Al Franken in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 40 Social Work Healthcare Education And Leadership Scholars (HEALS) from 10 schools around the country gathered in Washington, D.C., in March. The Social Work HEALS Policy Summit was hosted by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).

Our four Social Work HEALS Scholars attended and shared reflections with the the Social Work HEALS Leadership Council.  Excerpts from their reflections are shared here:

While we are encouraged, asked and called to be advocates for social justice as social workers, the [Policy] Summit created a platform for energizing us to embrace and live that calling…The Summit helped to inform and prepare us to discuss healthcare policy with congressional staff and why advocacy matters. - Shannon Henry, MSW

As someone who has always been interested in policy work, specifically around healthcare and the disparities that exist, the Policy Summit helped me truly see the intersection of micro and macro social work practice…A major takeaway for me was that politics are local. Upon returning to MN, I promised myself that I would get more involved in the politics that affect my clients and the communities they come from; especially when it comes to reaching out to my legislators to ensure that their agenda aligns with our needs. - Ikram Koliso, BSW

We arrived in Washington, D.C., at a critical time in healthcare policy - the night that the House GOP released their plans for the American Healthcare Act to replace the ACA. I found myself in a room full of passionate social workers who were already brainstorming strategies to advocate for our clients and how to make sure that their voices are heard. Overall, the engaging attitude of my fellow scholars, the dedication of the summit leaders, and the strength of our collective voice will always be my reminder that change is possible when we establish a common goal and when we work together. - Taylor Logeais, MSW

We heard from panelists who serve as professionals in both healthcare and advocacy… and also had the opportunity to meet with staff members who work with Minnesota's representatives to further discuss and advocate for the significance of multidisciplinary teams in healthcare, focusing specifically on the social worker's role and how this work positively affects patients. I feel that I was able to not only learn more about the field of healthcare, but also policy work and how this truly impacts the profession of social work. - Lyndsay Testa, BSW

The Social Work HEALS Policy Summit is featured on the front page of the April NASW News»

On April 21, the HEALS scholars shared their experience with our community, hosting “From Affordable Care to American Health Care – What do social workers need to know?” featuring a panel of regional experts and engaging dialogue about health policy, specifically as it relates to social work clients.