WNEU to Convene 38th Annual Regional Social Work Conference on May 19

SPRINGFIELD — Professionals from throughout Western Mass. will gather virtually as Western New England University (WNEU) convenes its 38th annual Social Work Conference on Wednesday, May 19 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. This year’s conference is being presented virtually in accordance with CDC recommendations at the time of planning.

Risa Silverman, director of the UMass School of Public Health and Health Sciences Office for Public Health Practice and Outreach, will be the keynote speaker for this event. Silverman’s presentation, “Bridge the Gap: Look at Race and Health Through an Intergenerational Lens,” will describe the work of the Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network and its latest project, creating a film with community members young and old, on conversations about racism and health in our communities.

“We will discuss what health equity looks like during and post-pandemic for our community members and how to move forward together by learning and identifying action steps,” said Silverman. The presentation will discuss working together to address racism as a public-health crisis and ways in which conversations can be productive in this space. Members of the Western Massachusetts Health Equity Network will join Silverman in the conversation.

Rosa Espinosa will be honored with the annual Jim Quinn Human Service Award at the conference. Espinosa is the director of family-based services at New North Citizens’ Council (NNCC), which provides advocacy, public, and human services to Hampden County residents with an emphasis on the Hispanic/Latino community.

“Human services saved my life,” said Espinosa, who describes her younger self, as a young mother with two children, the literal definition of the population NNCC serves. “After 30 years, I can honestly say that not only is this work fulfilling, but no matter how much I’ve done, I know I can do more because I will always remember what the agency did for me and my family.”

The daylong conference is sponsored by Western New England University’s Bachelor of Social Work program, the Social Work Advisory Council, and the Office of Enrollment Management, as well as more than 30 virtual sponsors.

Registration for this event is now open. If received before May 12, the registration fee is $120 and includes seven credit hours for full (100%) attendance. The conference fee after May 12 will be $135. Lower student rates are also available. Visit wne.edu/prodev to register online, or call (413) 796-2173.