G.S.S.W.'s 10th Annual Social Policy Action Day Focuses On Women's Issues

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

More than 250 Graduate School of Social Work students, faculty and administrators heard speakers discuss some current trends affecting social work practice on Monday at the school's 10th annual Social Policy and Action Day.

The event, held in the Massachusetts State House Gardner Auditorium, serves as an introduction for GSSW students to the state Legislature and its role in human services. Each year, SPAD brings representatives from the public and private sectors to discuss issues that affect social workers, such as health care reform and the "Contract with America."

This year's event was titled "Women's Health and Domestic Violence: Implications for Public Policy in Massachusetts," and featured legislators and professionals from such fields as health care, law enforcement and family services.

"These are both topics of great interest to the profession," said Adj. Assoc. Prof. Richard Rowland (GSSW), the event's coordinator. "Our students face these issues constantly in their placements, so we wanted to call attention to them and hear some of the approaches being used to resolve the problems."

After welcoming remarks GSSW Dean June G. Hopps, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts Executive Vice President Evelyn Murphy, a former lieutenant governor, delivered the keynote speech. The audience also heard current legislators Kay Kahn and Rachel Kaprelien offer insights into state government, and closing observations by Mental Health Corp. of Massachusetts Executive Director Elizabeth Funk.

Two panels examined issues of domestic violence and women's health. Among those participating were Massachusetts Coalition of Battered Women Services Public Policy Director Nancy Scannell, Winthrop Police Domestic Violence Unit Lt. James Pierce, Parents' and Children's Services Executive Director Gary Bailey, and Jennifer Coplon, director of managed care programs at Tufts Managed Care Institute.

Following the presentations, students broke into small groups with GSSW faculty and administrators to talk about the major points raised by the speakers. Later, students had the opportunity to meet with state senators and representatives and other legislative personnel.

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