Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Take Action on Social Work Safety

It is crunch time on Beacon Hill. The legislative session will end at midnight tonight. As I type this, the NASW-MA government relations team is at the State House talking with legislators about House Bill 4254, An Act to Promote Health Through Workplace Safety for Social Workers, which is one step away from being passed in the House! 

State Representatives need to hear from SOCIAL WORKERS on the critical importance of the social work safety in the workplace bill. 

This legislation was filed in response to recommendations of the NASW Safety Taskforce that convened after the 2008 death of a social worker on a home visit. H4254 would require behavioral health employers licensed, certified or funded by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to perform annually an assessment of factors that may put a licensed social worker or other employee at risk of workplace violence.  It would establish the following requirements:
  • creation of a system for recording centrally all incidents of workplace violence or threats of such violence against employees and volunteers;
  • creation of a written violence prevention and response plan;
  • implementation of a training program to educate employees and volunteers about workplace violence and ways behavioral health care employers and employees and volunteers can ameliorate such risk;
  • maintain and develop a violence prevention and response team to monitor ongoing compliance with the violence prevention and crisis response plan and to assist any employee or volunteer victimized by or threatened with workplace violence.
Legislators need to hear from NASW-MA members like you about why this bill is so important! Every phone call makes a difference. Visit www.wheredoivotema.com to identify your elected officials. The State House switchboard number is: 617-722-2000.

Thank you for taking action! If you have any questions, contact Rebekah Gewirtz, Director of Government Relations and Political Action at Gewirtz@naswma.org or 617-227-9635 x12.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Last night I attended a screening of an extraordinary PBS Documentary on AIDS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY: ENDGAME.  It will air tonight on PBS’s FRONTLINE.   It was moving, disturbing, and compelling. I left saddened, and worried.  And now I am feeling compelled to tell everyone to watch it.  Tonight. Although the film focuses on the AIDS virus in the Black community, the information is essential to all of us who care about public health issues, the impact of shame and humiliation on young peoples’ lives and on the uncompromising consequences keeping certain secrets.

There are many good people in the film that cause great suffering. It is a universal phenomenon.  Thank you, Vincent Lynch, my social work colleague at Boston College School of Social Work for inviting me and to Dr. Judy-Ann Bigby, Secretary, MA Executive Office of Health and Human Services for your panel participation where you showed the great work that a state can accomplish when it has committed people like yourselves taking a stand to address a crucial public health issue. 

Carol J. Trust