Program Highlights

The online program schedule is searchable by author, day, presentation format, and cluster and topical areas.
The online program schedule is searchable by author, day, presentation format, and cluster and topical areas.
Opening Plenary Session
“Launching  the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative”
Thursday – January 14, 2016, 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm
Speakers: Eddie Uehara, PhD (University of Washington), Richard Barth, PhD (University of Maryland)
The Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative specifies ambitious but achievable goals to address  12 major challenges facing society. These challenges range from ending homelessness and stopping family violence to smart decarceration and reversing extreme inequality.  Join the opening plenary to celebrate SSWR’s 20th Conference Anniversary and to experience an energizing introduction to the Grand Challenges for Social Work. The program for this special opening session includes:

  • Welcome to SSWR’s 20th Conference Anniversary and the launch of Grand Challenges for Social Work, Eddie Uehara, PhD, SSWR President, Professor and Ballmer Endowed Dean, School of Social Work, University of Washington
  • Official premiere of the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work, Richard Barth, PhD, AASWSW President, Dean and Professor, University of Maryland
  • Grand challenge video premiere : “Social Progress, Powered by Science”
  • Comments from luminaries from within and beyond social work
  • Audience participation in multi-media, interactive stations
Presidential Plenary
“Race: America’s Grand Challenge”
Saturday – January 16, 2016, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Speaker: Larry Davis, PhD (University of Pittsburgh)

Racial terror, discrimination and bias have been part of our society’s history since before America was America. However, not since the struggle for civil rights, and the violence that accompanied it, have we seen our society so torn by racial strife. Social media has served to pull back the curtain on the depth and pervasiveness of the race problem in America. For too long race has been America’s postponed grand challenge, a challenge so complex and insidious that it has been easier to start elsewhere. Yet as researchers we need to build on the reality that social media has revealed. Social work researchers are the best positioned of any researchers in America to make enormous contributions to ameliorate racism in America. Hence I propose a new gold standard, one that includes the impact of racism and oppression prominently and explicitly as an area of focus in all social work research efforts. Specifically if research projects include and affect non-whites, then the racial implications for these subjects should be explicated and forthrightly addressed in our findings and implications. It is time for social work researchers to take on a greater initiative in addressing the challenge of race in America.

Invited Symposium I
“Training Our Next Generation Scientific Work Force to Tackle Grand Challenges”
Friday – January 15, 2016, 1:45 pm – 3:15 pm
Moderators: Paula Nurius, PhD (University of Washington) and Jim Lubben, PhD (Boston College)
Speakers: Sarah Gehlert, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis), Lawrence Palinkas, PhD (University of Southern California), Kara Hall, PhD (National Cancer Institute)

Social work’s historic articulation of current Grand Challenges sharpens the imminent need to coordinate a national plan for preparing our doctoral students and early career scholars for high impact careers toward advancing solutions. In this session we convene a national panel to provide interlocking illustrations of research skill and career readiness needs of emerging scholars who will largely be responsible for taking Grand Challenges forward, within contemporary scientific contexts.  This session builds on prior task forces within and outside of social work to delineate the top tasks social work must attend to over the coming decade to prepare our next generation of researchers for leadership in the era of Grand Challenges. This session will include engagement with the audience and should be of interest to a very wide swath of SSWR participants—from doctoral students to early career and senior faculty to school leadership. This vision will include creative attention to linking resources across schools of social work as well as SSWR’s pivotal support roles.

Invited Symposium II
“Unleashing the Power of Prevention to Achieve Community Impact: Communities in Action, a partnership between UW SSW, practicum agencies, MSW students and the community”
Saturday – January 16, 2016, 9:45 am – 11:15 am
Moderator: Richard F. Catalano, PhD (University of Washington)
Speakers: Margaret L. Spearmon, PhD (University of Washington), Vaughnetta J. Barton, MSW (University of Washington), Edith Elion, MSW (Atlantic Street Center), Raymonda C. Reese (University of Washington)

The Unleashing the Power of Prevention Grand Challenge proposes to will advance the policies, programs, funding, and workforce preparation needed to promote behavioral health and prevent behavioral health problems among all young people—including those at greatest disadvantage or risk, from birth through age 24. The Coalition for the Promotion of Behavioral Health and Prevention of Negative Developmental Outcomes, supporters and developers of this grand challenge, proposes within a decade to reduce the incidence and prevalence of behavioral health problems in this population by 20 percent from current levels. This presentation provides an exemplar of how Schools of Social Work can create a partnership with faculty, practicum agencies, students and the community to achieve these goals locally. The exemplar adapts a tested model for building prevention infrastructure to support quality implementation at scale of evidence based prevention programs in disadvantaged communities.

Invited Symposium III (Inaugural Annual Policy Forum)
“2016 Children Policies to Address the Grand Challenges of Poverty and Unequal Social Mobility”
Saturday – January 16, 2016, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Moderator: Sean Joe, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis)
Speakers: Michael Sherraden, PhD (Washington University in St. Louis), MaryLee Allen, PhD (Children’s Defense Fund), Mark H. Greenberg (Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)

The Society for Social Work and Research’s 20th Annual Conference will mark the introduction of the inaugural annual Policy Forum, a prominent plenary session that will highlight outstanding case examples of faculty, organizations, and legislators at the forefront of advancing federal and state policy that is informed by social work research. The annual policy forum was established to provide an opportunity for a coordinated, cohesive social policy outlet that supports SSWR member’s desire to influence important public policy debate. Titled 2016 Children Policy Priorities to Address the Grand Challenges of Poverty and Unequal Social Mobility, the 2016 inaugural forum will focus on policy solutions that address some of the prevailing social justice issues as they relate to children.

Invited Symposium IV
“Grand Challenges for Social Work: Examples of Campus Compacts”
Saturday – January 16, 2016, 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Speakers: Yannis Yortsos, PhD (University of Southern California), Marilynn Flynn, PhD (University of Southern California), Edward Lawlor, PhD (Washington Universit in St. Louis), Barbara Shank, PhD (St. Catherine University and University of St. Thomas Collaborative)

Formulation of the Grand Challenges is the first step in a much longer process.  Leadership and longer-term implementation of the Grand Challenges will ultimately fall to deans, faculty, and community professionals.  There are successful precedents to follow, especially in the efforts in the field of engineering over the past six years.  Our scientific orientation and professional culture will at the same time lend a distinctive pattern to our approach.   This session will examine alternative approaches that have been taken or are planned by two schools of social work and one of the nation’s major engineering programs.  The perspective of a dean from one of the smaller, long-established schools will also be offered in recognition of the distinctive contribution these programs may make.  Roles of faculty, students, research and practice networks, and other community collaborators will be suggested, as well as alternative visions for ways in which the Grand Challenges can be adopted as hallmarks of engaged schools.

Doctoral Student Session and Luncheon
“Research for Good: Enabling Social Work PhD Students to Realize the Transformative Potential of Research”
Saturday – January 16, 2016, 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm
Speaker: Laina Bay-Cheng, PhD (University of Buffalo)

All doctoral students are encouraged to attend this free networking luncheon and presentation by Dr. Laina Bay-Cheng, Associate Professor and PhD Program Director at the School of Social Work at the University of Buffalo. Dr. Bay-Cheng’s work concentrates on the social determinants of young women’s sexual well-being. In contrast to the dominant equation of youth sexuality with risk, Bay-Cheng contends that young women’s vulnerability to negative sexual experiences stems from unjust social norms and material conditions. Reflecting her interdisciplinary background and perspective, Bay-Cheng uses diverse theories and methods in her scholarship and publishes in well-regarded journals across disciplines. Join fellow doctoral students as we get to know one another and hear from this dynamic and engaging speaker about the future of social work research.

“Meet the Scientist” Luncheon
Thursday – January 14, 2016, 12:15 pm – 1:30 pm
Senior Scientists: Deborah K. Padgett, PhD (New York University), Beverly Black, PhD (University of Texas at Arlington), Joseph Shields, PhD (Catholic University), Susan Kemp, PhD (University of Washington), Michael Austin, PhD (University of California, Berkeley), Michael Lindsey, PhD (New York University), David Brennan, PhD (University of Toronto), Cecilia Ayon, PhD (Arizona State University)

The Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) will be holding the “Meet the Scientist” Luncheon to be held at the SSWR 20th Annual Conference in Washington, DC. This special session provides a forum for early career scholars and doctoral students to talk and interact with established senior scholars who are leaders in social work research and the Society. Early career scholars and doctoral students will have the opportunity to ask questions about career development, challenges in the field, research initiatives, and where the field might be heading. Each senior scholar will be seated at a table with up to 6 early career scholars and doctoral students.

Invited Journal Editors’ Workshop I
Publishing Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals: Talk with the Editors
Thursday – January 14, 2016, 3:15 pm – 4:45 pm

Speakers: Mark W. Fraser [Chair], PhD (Editor-JSSWR – University of North Carolina), Sophia Dziegielewski, PhD (Editor-JSSR, University of Cincinnati), Susan J. Lambert, PhD (Editor-SSR, University of Chicago), Bruce Thyer, PhD, LCSW (Editor-RSWP, Florida State University), James Herbert Williams, PhD (Editor-SWR, University of Denver)

This symposium brings together a panel of editors from five generalist research journals in social work: Journal of Social Service Research, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, Research on Social Work Practice, Social Service Review, and Social Work Research. The editors will describe their respective journals, offer guidance on submissions, explain the editorial decision-making process, and advise on the process of creating publishable articles. Time will be provided for questions, comments, and suggestions from the audience and responses from the Editors.

Invited Journal Editors’ Workshop II
Journal Editors’ Forum on Publishing Qualitative Research
Friday – January 15, 2016, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Speakers: Jane F. Gilgun, PhD, LICSW (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities), Karen Staller, PhD (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor), Noël Bridget Busch-Armendariz, PhD (University of Texas at Austin), Susan P. Robbins, PhD (University of Houston), Sondra J. Fogel, PhD (University of South Florida)

This workshop is for any participant seeking to publish qualitative research and scholarly work in social work journals. The workshop brings together a distinguished panel of editors and researchers from four journals: Qualitative Social Work, Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, and Families in Society. These journals are highly regarded in the profession and share commitments to excellence in social work research and publication. In this session, the editors describe the aim of their respective journals and the editorial decision-making process. Most important, they will create a discussion with participants about what constitutes a publishable qualitative study that influences practice and policy. Before the program starts, participants will be asked to write their publishing questions on 3×5 cards; the chair will collect the cards and sort them during the presentation and use these to facilitate discussion. In this workshop, the editors contribute to the scholarly development of the participants by building skills related to successful publication. The editors will discuss several issues, including how to match topics to specific journals, review processes, features of articles they’ve accepted for publication, and how to address the implications of their research for practice and policy.

Grand Challenges (GC) Roundtable
“Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative (GCSWI): Creating Impact and Producing Social Innovations in the next Decade”
Saturday – January 16, 2016, 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm
Speakers: Richard P. Barth, PhD (University of Maryland at Baltimore), Rowena Fong, EdD (University of Texas at Austin), John Brekke, PhD (University of Southern California), Edwina Uehara, PhD (University of Washington)

Based on the premise that researchers, practitioners, educators, policymakers, and funders creating and implementing science-informed, social interventions will make an impact in achieving a more just, equitable, and socially cohesive society, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare has announced its 12 Grand Challenges about Healthy Development, Family Violence, Social Isolation, Homelessness, Health Gap, Technology for Social Good, Global Environment, Financial Capability, Long and Productive Lives, Smart Decarceration, Economic Inequality, and Equal Opportunity and Justice.  It is important that the implementation of these Grand Challenge be committed to a strong scientific base and be reflective of creative transdisciplinary social innovations to address vexing problems in our society. This session will review the current activities of the various Grand Challenges as well as ongoing and future implementation plans. Input about future directions for the GCSWI will be welcomed.

A Celebration of SSWR’s 20th Conference Anniversary
Thursday – January 14, 2016, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Grand Reception for Grand Challenges Launch hosted by the University of Southern California and the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare
Saturday – January 16, 2016, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm


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