Observing Social Work Month
By Shirley Gentilini, MSW, LCSW
In March, we celebrated Social Work Month, with the theme for 2014, “All People Matter.” One of the many duties that our regional directors take on is to help local units identify social work awardees from their region and local units. In March, many social work celebrations were held. I was privileged to attend four unit presentations and events.
Region F (Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County) has four active regions with an average of 1,515 members. I attended two Region F events celebrating Social Work Month.
The first one was at the University of Southern California’s Orange County Campus. Dr. Leslie Wind, clinical associate professor and previous director of the Orange County Academic Center and also the former unit chair for Region F, Orange County, held a CEU workshop entitled, “Health Care Reform: How Policy Informs Micro, Mezzo and Macro Social Work Practice.”
Dawn Joosten, PhD, LCSW, presented information on the Affordable Care Act and how it impacts our work as social workers. This Act is a new challenge for those who work in medical settings, as well as other social work agencies.
Cameron Galford, Region F Director, presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Leslie Wind, who was completely surprised. Dr. Wind’s immediate family, friends and colleagues commented on the success of completely surprising her. Good work to the planners Dr. Elizabeth Pringle-Hornsby, director of Orange County Academic Center, and Rachel Gardner, NPN, and others, who were able to keep this award a secret from Dr. Wind.
As Cameron Galford read many letters from colleagues praising Dr. Wind’s many accomplishments in the social work profession, we learned about her outstanding 40-year career in social work. Congratulations, Dr. Wind, we are fortunate to have you in California. We appreciate all you do for NASW and your students at USC.
Tina Rocha received the Social Work Award for Region F, Orange County, for her work with the Orange County Department of Education Crisis Response Program Specialist Safe Schools and Support Services program. Tina is also a USC field instructor. Congratulations, Tina.
The second event I attended was held in Region F’s Desert Cities unit. Unit Chair Joseph Brinson, MSW candidate; Ed Walsh, MSW, assistant director, for Region F; and Cameron Galford, Region F director, held a meeting honoring social workers.
Speaker Glen Grayman, MD, vice president/secretary, Desert Health Care District Governing Board, spoke on “How Healthy Is the Coachella Valley Community.” His talk and slides focused on current data: health care coverage, health care utilization and health behavior. His slides on recent research were very informative. If you would like more information, you can access the website for Heath Assessment Resource Center at www.harcdata.org or Facebook at www.facebook.com/HARCData.
Often the Coachella Valley and other desert communities are viewed as retirement communities. Dr. Grayman shared his concerns about the many children living in Coachella Valley and nearby communities. These children are at the poverty level and have limited access to quality health care.
In addition to Dr. Grayman’s presentation, students from California State San Bernardino gave talks on their research projects.
Alex Reyes and April Marier presented their research related to incarceration. They informed us with new facts and information about those currently in prison and those recently released.
Two CalSWEC grant recipients, Aleida Murcia and Jovanni Holloway, presented their research on mentoring students newly hired in the Department of Children’s Services. Their research focused on how often new graduates who work for Children’s Services leave the Department prematurely. They emphasized how important it is for new employees in Children Services to have mentors experienced in Child Welfare help them.
One suggestion is that mentors could be retired social workers. As professional social workers we value the importance of effectively developing a service of care for children. We want to enable them become the best adults they can be.
Mentorship is innovative thinking and also a familiar theme, which I have heard in the past. However, many times nothing comes to fruition. I encourage those of you with experience to help establish positive ways to bring mentorship to our new social work professionals. We want all those new to social work to be successful, particularly those who choose to work with children, our most vulnerable population. Those of you who may want to pursue this further can bring your ideas to others in your local region and units.
Region I Director Paul McDonough, with the help of MSW Student Fellow Christie Tipton, held the region’s social work event at Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles. I consider their event as “Thinking Outside the Box.” Paul and Christie stood outside the entrance and held up the NASW sign. They greeted those of us who attended and gave us a NASW souvenir water bottle with our logo for 2014, “All People Matter.” Thanks, Paul and Christie.
The last Regional event I attended was a dinner held at the Daily Grill in Santa Monica. Region H Director Sara Cummings presented the Region H Social Work award to. Former Social Work Awardees from 2012 and 2013 were also present. Meeting MSW interns, recent graduates and members of NPN was inspiring. Their interest in their chosen profession and enthusiasm was very positive.
At the award presentations I connected with former social work colleagues and met some new members. Many of them shared how much they value our professional organization and offered suggestions on ways to support NASW.
I would like to thank our regional leaders on the NASW board and unit chairs and many others who produced very successful social work events for March.