Social work research identifies strategies and solutions that enhance individual, family and community well being by exploring
the social, behavioral and environmental connections to health and mental health issues. Recognizing the far reaching effects
of this type of research, the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors (BPD), the Council on Social Work
Education (CSWE), the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD), the Group for the Advancement
of Doctoral Education (GADE), and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) formed the Action Network for Social Work
Education and Research (ANSWER) Coalition in 1995. The Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR) joined
ANSWER the following year, and the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) became a member in 1999.
ANSWER was created with the mission of increasing legislative and executive branch advocacy on behalf of social work
education, training, and research. In March 2002, NASW took the lead on coordinating the lobbying efforts made by ANSWER.
Dave Dempsey, Manager of Government Relations, and Ann Bradford, Senior Government Relations Associate, are the NASW contacts
for ANSWER and both can be reached at (202) 408-8600 or firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. One of the first steps
taken by NASW in this new role was to devote a section of the NASW website to ANSWER and its initiatives. This website, which
may be viewed at: http://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/answer/default.asp, includes information about the coalition and the
member organizations, as well as how ANSWER is advocating for social work research through proposed legislation and appropriations
Specifically, visitors of the website will find information about S. 70/H.R. 3814, the National Center for Social Work
Research Act. This bill, which was introduced by Senator Inouye (D-HI) in the Senate and Representatives Rodriguez, MSW (D-TX)
and Upton (R-MI) in the House of Representatives, would establish a center to collect data on significant public health and
social problems and promote the study and investigation of prevention and treatment of those problems. The focus of the National
Center would be on the social work care of individuals and their families experiencing problems such as acute and chronic
illnesses, abuse and neglect, and youth and family violence. More effective delivery of social and health services and better
informed policy making related to major social problems is envisioned as a result of the National Center's activities. Social
workers and other providers would have access to an increased knowledge base about best practices for delivering social work
and health services. In addition, policymakers would receive up-to-date research findings in order to help them, according
to S.70/H.R. 3814, "better understand complex social issues and make informed funding decisions about service effectiveness
and cost efficiency."
S. 70 is currently before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and H.R. 3814 is before the House
Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Health. While ANSWER is not expecting this bill to pass during the remainder of the
107th Congress, it is still important for Members of Congress to hear about this bill and sign on as co-sponsors since their
support will help in moving the bill forward when it is reintroduced during the 108th Congress. There are currently seven
co-sponsors in the Senate and thirty-three in the House. The list of co-sponsors, as well as information as to how individuals
can lobby their Representatives and Senators to sign on to the bill, can be found on the previously mentioned website.
ANSWER's current focus is on the Republican Members of Congress. With such a closely divided Congress, it is essential
that the bill have bipartisan support. The website provides specific information and suggestions on how individuals and schools
of social work can affect the outcome of this legislation. For example, information can be found about how to write a letter
to a Representative or Senator, as well as what to say when calling a Member to ask for his/her support. The website also
provides information on how to plan a school wide "Call-In Day." This specific information can be found at http://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/answer/grassroots/callin_day.asp.
To receive more information about grassroots activities, individuals should contact Ms. Lakitia Mayo, of NASW, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (202) 408-8600.
In addition to advocating for S.70/H.R. 3814, ANSWER has requested that Congress include language in the Labor, Health
and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Conference Report for FY03. The language, which may be viewed on the website,
is in regards to social work research being conducted at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes
of Health (NIH). The requested language "encourages the CDC to collaborate with relevant social work organizations and
academic institutions, including schools of social work in carrying out its research agenda," and "urges NIH to
develop and coordinate a social work research plan outlining research priorities and a social work research agenda for the
next five years, along with professional judgment funding projections, across NIH Institutes and Centers to be reported to
Congress by March 1, 2003." While this language was not included in the Senate Labor, HHS, Education Appropriations
bill, ANSWER remains optimistic that it will appear in the House version. Related language, which urged NIH to find ways
to promote social work research throughout the agency, was included in the FY02 Conference Report.
ANSWER is already looking towards the 108th Congress and devising a legislative advocacy plan that will help to further
social work research. Goals will be set and plans made during the next ANSWER Steering Committee meeting which is planned
for October 3 at the meeting site of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work in Seattle,
Washington. To reach the goals set by the coalition, the participation of social work students, educators, and practitioners
will be essential. NASW will be issuing Action Alerts via the ANSWER website, as well as through the coalition member organizations,
throughout the coming year. Social workers will be called upon to write letters, make phone calls, and schedule meetings
with their Members of Congress. ANSWER is confident that these advocacy efforts will assist in expanding the benefits that
social work research provides individuals, families, and communities.
Click on this link to send Email to: Dave Dempsey, Manager of Government Relations
Click on this link to send Email to: Ann Bradford, Senior Government Relations Associate
Click on this link to go to the ANSWER section of the NASW web site:
Click on this link for information on how to plan a school "Call-In Day"
For more information about grassroots activities, please email Ms. Lakitia Mayo of NASW