Social Work HEALS Co-Hosts Policy Event

June 11, 2019
Patina Park and Bruce Thao NASW pre-conference 2019
Patina Park and Bruce Thao

Our 2018-19 Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS) program partnered with NASW-MN to co-host the June 10 pre-conference session, "Cultivating Healthy Communities: Policy, Equity and Innovation."

What is Social Work HEALS?

In 2015, we were selected as one of just 10 schools in the nation to participate in the Social Work HEALS program awarded by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). The five-year grant “aims to develop the next generation of social work leaders who will stand ready to lead efforts to address system-level changes, heighten awareness of prevention and wellness, and address the issues of structural racism that are embedded in social institutions.”

Each year the grant supports two BSW and two MSW students who receive robust healthcare education and training, opportunities to engage in a variety of leadership and interprofessional programs, a tuition stipend and funding to attend the Social Work HEALS policy summit in Washington, D.C. For the past two years, the grant has provided additional funding for participating schools to use towards a healthcare policy event. This year's event was in the form of the NASW-MN pre-conference workshop.

The June 10 program focused on the intersections of policy, equity, innovation and healthy communities. Patina Park, executive director of the MN Indian Women's Resource Center, delivered the keynote address, “Mitakuye Oyasin: An indigenous perspective on community, systems, and health,” offering perspectives on community and collaboration, and how practitioners can work within and across systems to impact individual and systemic change. Bruce Thao, director of the Center for Health Equity and Office of Minority & Multicultural Health of the Minnesota Department of Health provided the response, “Centering community voices in health: Minnesota perspectives.”

Afternoon breakouts included sessions on “Innovative approaches to mental health and substance abuse treatment,” which highlighted The Yellow Line Project's Ricky Pribyl from Horizon Homes and Commander Matt DuRose from the Mankato Department of Public Safety (a social work & law enforcement collaboration), and Ruby Rivera from the Wilder Foundation, speaking on social work in libraries; “Maternal and infant health,” featuring Erica Gerrity of the MN Prison Doula Project; and “Transforming organizations through an equity lens," featuring Anna Vangsness of Community University Health Care Center (CUHCC) and Lisa Skjefte, Children's Minnesota Health Equity Specialist and American Indian Community Liaison, KWESTRONG Founder.

Thank you to our 2018-19 Social Work HEALS Leadership Council and to our partners at NASW-MN for helping bring the goals of the Social Work HEALS program to life through this policy event. The final year of the Social Work HEALS grant will be administered by St. Catherine University in 2019-20.

Photos from the event can be viewed in our Facebook album»

2019 HEALS NASW-MN2018-19 Social Work HEALS Scholars