The Power of Social Work Voices in Policy Advocacy

The role of social workers is not simply to help people function more effectively within systems. Social workers have an obligation to identify when, how and why systems are failing and to advocate for structural change. NYU Silver faculty are doing just that by translating findings from their high-impact research to affect policy at the national and international levels.

Michael A. Lindsey headshotRinging the Alarm About Black Youth Suicide

When Dean Michael A. Lindsey’s research found rising rates of suicide behaviors among Black youth even as rates were falling among other racial and ethnic groups, he brought it to the attention of the Congressional Black Caucus to urge a government response. The Caucus established an Emergency Taskforce on Black Youth Suicide and Mental Health and named Dean Lindsey chair of a working group of experts supporting their efforts. He led the production of a report titled Ring the Alarm: The Crisis of Black Youth Suicide, which informed the bipartisan Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act, which was introduced in both houses of Congress.

Deborah K. Padgett headshotHelping Brazil Launch Housing First Homelessness Policy

Brazil’s recorded homeless population soared 140% in the decade leading up to 2022. With insights from Professor Deborah Padgett, Brazil recently launched a multi-year plan to address homelessness with the Housing First approach. Dr. Padgett, whose NIMH-funded studies helped establish the evidence base for Housing First as a means to end homelessness, was a guest of Brazil’s Ministry of Human Rights at a summit kicking off the government initiative.

Children's Prosperity logo with the text underneath Investing in Children - the Key to Prosperity, Reykjavik, 30 March 2023Advising Council of Europe Member States on Implementing Child Well-Being Agenda

Amidst concerns about the economic and social costs of failing to support children’s wellbeing, the Ministry of Education and Children of Iceland and the Council of Europe hosted a high-level conference “Investing in Children – the Key to Prosperity” in Reykjavik, Iceland. Professor Ramesh Raghavan gave the keynote address on investing in upstream strategies to enhance child well-being. Drawing from his book Investing in Children's Mental Health (Oxford University Press, 2023), co-authored with Daniel Eisenberg, Dr. Raghavan provided a framework for the evaluation of potential investments and strategies for their successful implementation.

Ernest Gonzales seated at a long table speaking into a microphone next to another UN participant, with a digital nameplat in front of himPromoting Intergenerational Bonds at the UN

It has been 75 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; however, older people around the world are among those who do not yet fully enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms. The UN’s 33rd commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons focused on how strengthening intergenerational collaboration could help fulfill the promises of that declaration for people of all ages. James Weldon Johnson Professor of Social Work and Director of the Center for Health and Aging Innovation Ernest Gonzales shared recommendations from his research on productive aging, human rights, and intergenerational cohesion.

Ernest Gonzales speaks into a microphone in front of an audience with a screen of a sign language interpreter on the bottom right and a caption with the text Living a long healthy and meaningful life with a solid economic foundation and strongDelivering Invited Testimony to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging

When the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing focused on dismantling barriers and building economic resilience for older workers, it turned to Dr. Gonzales for insights. In invited testimony, Dr. Gonzales, whose research is focused on productive aging, equity, discrimination, intergenerational scholarship, and social policy, called for passage of the Protecting Older Workers Against Discrimination Act. and other policies that support productive activities in later life.

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