BPD Update Online, Fall 2003
IASWR Update: Social Work Research Visibility Enhanced
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By Joan Levy Zlotnik, Ph.D., ACSW

The Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR), founded in 1993 as a collaborative undertaking of BPD, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education (GADE), and the National Associations of Deans and Directors (NADD), is embarking on the celebration of its Tenth Anniversary. Receiving core support from the five organizations noted above and the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), which was founded in 1994, IASWR represents the interests of the social work profession. We actively work in the national scientific community, with other disciplines, and with federal agencies, and provide technical support, resources and information to our sponsoring organizations and their constituents. Our focus is on the development of research and researchers, the building of bridges between research and practice (and education) and strengthening the connections between research and policy. The on-going strong support provided to IASWR by BPD and its partner organizations is critical to our accomplishing our mission. This year, IASWR also received individual support from 33 social work education programs including two stand-alone BSW programs, North Carolina Central University and James Madison University. Increased support from individual programs helps us to expand our services and resources.

While the last decade has seen advances in social work research findings, increases in funding for social work research, enhancement of research curricula, increased technical assistance for faculty regarding grant-writing and research methodologies, and a growing number of social workers pursuing research careers, much continues to need to be done. With the increased attention to evidence-based practices, outcomes, cost-effectiveness and accountability, the attention to IASWR's mission by the social work profession is more important than ever.

For the third year in a row, IASWR was pleased to host the BPD Summer Policy Fellow. This year's recipient was Erin Brackney, a BSW graduate of Baylor University in Texas. This increasingly competitive opportunity provides a chance for an outstanding BSW student to spend a summer in Washington, DC working on national issues and learning about the policy-making process. Erin has made an important contribution to IASWR, doing background research, organizing materials for meetings and workshops, and developing reports. She will be staying on to complete several projects, at least through her participation at the BPD meeting in Reno.

IASWR continues to enhance its website, www.iaswresearch.org, where you can find resources about writing research grants and a search engine that will help identify potential funding opportunities. You can visit the website to sign-up for IASWR's Listerv Announcements, a weekly alert service, providing information on calls for papers, conferences, funding opportunities and important new reports and research findings that are of interest to the social work community. In addition, we publish IASWResearch...Reports...Resources which can also be downloaded from our website. These resources are not only useful to faculty, but can also be used as a teaching tool.

At the BPD conference in Reno, IASWR will host an exhibit and participate in the conference in several other ways. For the third year in a row we are providing a technical assistance pre-conference session on "Tips for Successful Grant-writing." On Thursday, October 30 from 3:30 to 4:30 we will host a session on "Advocating for Qualitative Research Opportunities and Capacity Building." IASWR will also provide information on aging resources at the CSWE GeroRich/SAGE-SW Resource Fair that will be held during the BPD conference.

At the Society for Social Work and Research conference in New Orleans in January2004, IASWR will once again be organizing a series of pre-conference sessions on January 15. The Heart of the Research Proposal: Developing Your Research Question and Specific Aims; Social Work Research Opportunities at CDC; Understanding the NIH Review Process; and NIH Funding Opportunities, Priorities and Mechanisms. For updated information visit the IASWR website, and for conference specific information visit the SSWR website at www.sswr.org.

In addition to our technical assistance efforts, IASWR is involved in a range of activities to address the recruitment and retention of a competent workforce across an array of health, behavioral health and human services arenas. The recent report of the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General on social work services in nursing homes (Psychosocial Services in Skilled Nursing Facilities (OEI-02-01-00610; 03/03) highlights the need for more research on the value of social work services in settings. In addition, the continuing attention to problems in the delivery of front-line child welfare services reinforces the need for well-qualified staff and the value of the many Title IV-E funded child welfare training efforts that are underway in social work education programs. IASWR is always seeking research findings related to the value of services provided by professionally trained social workers and the impact on outcomes, including cost and client well-being. If you have such research, please send information to jzlotnik@naswdc.org.

The following highlights some of IASWR's recent workshops, reports and advocacy efforts:

- Sponsored, with support from Casey Family Services, a one-day workshop for social work faculty and representatives from child welfare agencies in New England on Developing Successful Research Grants: A Technical Assistance Workshop.

- Organized two summer methods workshops (due to an overwhelming response). Rigorous and Relevant: Qualitative Research Methods Institute, held in Washington, DC on July 25-26 and August 8-9, and attended by over 100 participants included many who teach in BSW programs. Look for more methods workshops next summer.

- Developed a report, Social Work’s Contribution to Research on Cancer Prevention, Detection, Diagnosis, Treatment and Survivorship, for the National Cancer Institute, which outlines the current status of oncological social work research and makes recommendations to increase social work participation in cancer research and to diffuse and disseminate research knowledge to social work practitioners.

- Attended an invitational meeting sponsored by the CDC and the Lance Armstrong Foundation to develop a CDC agenda regarding cancer survivorship.

- Began dissemination of the Project SAFe Toolkit, the result of a 5-year study to test a social work case management model to provide follow-up to high risk women who have had a positive screen for breast and/or cervical cancer. Visit the IASWR website and click on Project SAFe on the tool bar to access the tool-kit which is useful for practice and as a teaching resource.

- Hosted a stakeholder meeting with representatives from social work organizations, national groups, social work researchers and staff from the Centers for Disease Control's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control to discuss Social Work Contributions to Public Health: Bridging Research and Practice in Violence Prevention - Lessons from Child Maltreatment and Domestic Violence. The meeting and related report highlight social work efforts that address priorities of the CDC Injury Center and make recommendations to foster closer ties between CDC and the social work community.

- Organized meetings for IASWR and other social work leaders to meet the new directors of the National Institute of Mental Health (Dr. Thomas Insel) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Dr. Carolyn Clancy), and to continue our dialogues with the Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health (Dr. Raynard Kington, formerly director of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research).

- Met with key staff at the Child Care Bureau of the Administration for Children and Families, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to discuss opportunities for social work research.

- Worked with national behavioral and social science coalitions to address Congressional efforts to interfere with the NIH peer review process and to promote attention to behavioral and social science research within federal agencies.

Ensuring that there is a strong social work voice in decisions about allocation of tight resources is increasingly important. IASWR's participation with BPD in the ANSWER coalition, and our advocacy with the legislative and executive branch on behalf of the profession is critical to enhancing the health and well-being of the persons in need of social work services.

For more information about IASWR, visit our website at www.iaswresearch.org, subscribe to our listserv, and visit our exhibit booth at BPD, SSWR and the CSWE Annual Program Meeting.

Joan Levy Zlotnik, PhD, ACSW


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Spiral, Horizontal Line Spinning

BPD Update Online, Volume 25, No. 3, Fall 2003

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