2016 Policy Conference 2.0
Race and Inequality: Policy & Advocacy for Structural Change

The Brown School, Washington University, St. Louis
June 2-4, 2016


The 2016 Policy Conference brought together 120 social work students, faculty, and practitioners from around the USA. Sponsored by ISP and cosponsored by the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, it offered two full days of presentations, workshops, poster sessions and panel discussions on pressing social policy issues and teaching techniques.

Lisa Carr, a social worker and Senior Advisor at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, opened the conference with a discussion of the Affordable Care Act and its potential to benefit racial minorities and people in poverty.

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Rev. Starsky Wilson, Co-Chair of the Ferguson Commission, gave a rousing call to action – highlighting the challenges of race and inequality in America.

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Honored this year, as part of our Policy Pioneer Panel, were Kathy Byers, Rosemary Chapin, and Larry Davis. Each shared his or her own perspective on social work’s relationship to policy practice and what our priorities should be for the future.

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A special Research Panel featured presentations by Mimi Abramovitz (Hunter College), Robin Hernandez-Mekonnen (Stockton University), and Kristen Wagner (University of Missouri). Mimi shared her use of GIS analysis and mapping to calculate a community “loss” index; Robin discussed the use of Title IV-E training funds to support immigrant families; and Kristen described a municipal court reform effort aimed at reducing social and economic disparities.

Over a group dinner, we recognized this year’s BSW, MSW, PhD, and faculty contest winners. It was inspiring to hear about the research and advocacy efforts of our students and colleagues!

Finally, a closing group dialogue featured Pat White, who identified the various policy initiatives being supported by the New York Community Trust’s Fund for Social Policy Education & Practice. Participants joined in a discussion of “next steps” to keep the policy momentum going within the profession.

Next year’s conference is scheduled for June 1-3, 2017. Click here to learn more about the Upcoming Policy 2.0 Conference.