Friday, May 28, 2010

One Step Closer

Hello Everyone,

Late last evening, the US House of Representatives voted to repeal the anti-gay "Don’t Ask, Don't Tell" law. This historic vote brings us one step closer to repeal of the discriminatory policy that treats gay and lesbian members of the military as second class citizens.The full US Senate will vote TODAY.

The following Letter to the Editor was prepared collaboratively by the Chairs of the LGBT Shared Interest Group (SIG), Eleni Carr, Member of the Chapter's Task Force on Workplace Standards and Compensation and staff member Meagan Coons. It was sent to the major media outlets this week.

This is NASW, MA Chapter's voice in the community.

Keeping Secrets for Far Too Long

Dear Editor,

If there was an individual who had a solution to stop the oil spill in the gulf tomorrow, we would hire that person to do the job. Yet there are thousands of qualified people who desire to serve in the United States military and they are not hired. They should be recruited, retained and promoted based on their capabilities, experience, and performance. However, since 1994 more than 13,000 American service members have been discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy. At a time when the United States is engaged in two wars, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” makes little sense. Gays, lesbians, and bisexuals who are U.S. Service members deserve the same treatment as heterosexuals. As members of the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts Chapter (NASW-MA) we strongly urge Massachusetts residents to voice their support of this repeal.

“Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is a practice that is an outgrowth of a time where silence was a strategy for managing difficult content. “Secretive” behavior in any organization often has negative consequences. Take for example the egregious cover-up of the Catholic Church during the sex abuse scandal. As a society, especially here in Massachusetts, we have moved beyond gay and lesbian lifestyles "needing" to be secret. We all want a stronger more unified military comprised of competent and committed individuals serving to promote democracy and peace. The removal of the DADT has the potential to attract more than 36,000 men and women to active duty service. (Williams Institute)

The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is an obsolete practice. NASW supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and is committed to working toward the elimination of prejudice, social injustice, violence and discrimination of LGB people. All of society will benefit when qualified individuals are allowed to work and serve “to be all they can be”.


Lisa Krinsky
LGBT Aging Project

Melissa Savage
Melissa Savage, LICSW
Director, Triangle Program
Arbour-HRI Hospital

Eleni Carr
Management Consultant, AK Consulting Services Inc

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mental Health Care

Hello Everyone,

My colleagues at the Mental Health Coalition and I wanted to direct your attention to an article that was published on May 17, 2010 in The Boston Globe. The article titled, “Firms Put Limits on Mental Health” highlighted United Behavioral Health’s (UBH) use of burdensome practices that limit the provision of mental health care. As a result of this micro management, social workers spend excessive and often unnecessary time dealing with managed care companies while their patient’s wait for treatment. However, United Behavioral Health (UBH) is not acting alone. It is one of many managed care organizations across the country implementing rigorous stipulations for accessing mental health services. The Mental Health Coalition was encouraged by the promulgation of the interim federal parity regulations, which prohibits employing stricter management of mental health services than those of medical services. Interim federal parity brings us one step closer to the dream of Paul Wellstone for real equality in provision of mental and medical care. As your professional association, we shall stay vigilant supporting your important clinical work with clients. To read the complete article please click on the following link.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Social Work Is All Around Us.

Hello All,

Over the weekend I attended two events that continually demonstrate to me the omnipresence and value of social work's impact in our communities. On Friday May 7, I attended the Annual Massachusetts Public Health Association's Awards Breakfast honoring 4 individuals whose contributions to promoting Public Health initiatives won them the award. The MPHA is the state's primary public health advocacy and education organization, championing policies that protect our communities, workplaces and environment. Two of the three award recipients- Harold Cox, MSW Associate Dean of Public Heath Practice, Boston University and Frances Anthes, President and CEO, Family Health Center of Worcester, graduated from Schools of Social Work. The third award recipient, Frank Robinson, Director of Community Heath Planning, Baystate Heath was introduced as someone who had done years of social work in the community, even though he had not attended a school of social work. Any way you look at it, all three award recipients were 'official' MSWs or wanted to be associated with the profession of social work through their introductions. Three out of three in an area of practice where there are many other degrees that are highly recognized. I was impressed and proud. Social Work was celebrated that morning.

Then, Saturday evening I stepped out to attend the international premier of an NASW supported, and sold out documentary film, Gen Silent, by award winning director Stu Maddux. Gen Silent uncovers the 'invisible and growing community of LGBT seniors as a way of educating a wide range of audiences about LGBT aging and caregiving. The movie was filmed in Boston and features the stories of 4 extraordinary LGBT couples and individuals as they face the challenges of aging in a society that does not fully accept them or their caregivers. The idea for this documentary came from the film maker and an exemplary social worker who happens to be the Co-Chair of the MA Chapter's LGBT Shared Interest Group, Lisa Krinsky. As the Executive Director of the LGBT Aging Project in Massachusetts Ms. Krinsky shepherded this idea from a concept to a moving and masterful reality. The film also featured social workers as the backbone of the services and support for many of the individuals in the movie. Social Work again was in the limelight this weekend.

I am so proud to be in the company of these amazing people and to be part of the social work community.

Carol Trust

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Hello All,

I am deeply troubled by the passage of the Arizona immigration law, which by all standards is a crass, discriminatory action. Last week, National NASW publicly opposed the Arizona Immigration law. As written, this law allows enforcement officials to stop anyone if “reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.” This provision promotes unrestricted racial profiling and represents an egregious injustice that flies in the face of our social work values and our code of ethics.

I am proud to work for an organization that advocates for social and economic justice and that supports the rights of all individuals. And I stand firmly by NASW’s call for a comprehensive immigration reform- that ensures due process for all individuals, opposes mandatory reporting of immigration status by public service providers, avoids racial profiling, and provides basic humanitarian measures to protect immigrants rather than exploit their rights. Social Work Speaks, the Association's stand on public policy issues, succinctly emphasizes our responsibility as social workers. “The association seeks the enactment of public social policies that will PROTECT the rights and ensure equity and social justice for all members of diverse racial and ethnic groups.” We have an opportunity as members of NASW, the largest professional network of social workers in the world, to put our values into action and make our collective voice heard. Please join me in speaking out against this new law by writing letters to your local papers, statewide papers, and by urging your congressmen to push for comprehensive immigration reform right now.

See NASW member and social worker, Miriam Stein’s letter to the Globe this week by clicking here.

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