Associate Dean Tazuko Shibusawa Delivers Keynote Address at Concept and Practice in Social Service Summit in Shanghai

Panel discussion moderated by television host Xin Luo. Shibusawa and the other panelists shared their perspectives on a resolution about the lack of caregivers in nursing homes and the adaption between social environments and the elderly themselves

“Concept and Practice in Social Service,” a summit on the welfare of senior citizens in China, was held in Shanghai on June 15 – 16, 2015, sponsored by the China Welfare Institute and the Committee of Social Aging Service of the China Federation of Social Workers, and co-sponsored by the NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development at NYU Shanghai, among others. Ninghui Kan, Deputy Secretary of the Leading Party Group and Deputy Secretary to the General of the China Welfare Institute, hosted the opening ceremony. Bingliang Zhen, Deputy Director of Social Welfare and Charity Promotion in the Department of Ministry and Civil Affairs, Danni Zhao, Vice Chair of the China Welfare Institute, Julan Gao, Inspector at the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, and Bin Lv, General Secretary of the Committee of Social Aging Services at the China Federation of Social Workers attended the ceremony and delivered opening remarks. The summit attracted over 350 participants from all over the world, including China, the United States, Switzerland, and Japan.

The summit brought together prominent researchers and scholars, including Dr. Peng Du from Renmin University, and senior corporation leaders with tremendous experience in aging care and social services to implement international collaboration and exchanges in aging care services in China. They discussed the rapid increase of the aging population around the world, particularly in China, over the past decade and for the next 20 years. Over 212 million people were age sixty or over in China in 2014, and it is estimated that the aging population will peak in 2030, accounting for approximately 36%.

Tazuko Shibusawa, Associate Dean of Professional Programs and Director of the MSW Program at the NYU Silver School of Social Work and a collaborating faculty member of the NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development at NYU Shanghai, delivered the keynote address on geriatric social work, with a focus on how social work values, perspectives, and functions may be an important force in delivering aging care around the world. Shibusawa also shared her rich personal experience in delivering aging care in the United States at elderly care institutions.

During the afternoon of June 16, Shibusawa and Wen-Jui Han, professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work and co-director of the Institute, hosted the “Camphor Tree Bay Workshop on Aging Services,” provided training on geriatric social work practice intervention and evaluation. Case studies and role-play were used, allowing the participants to gain insight into the roles and functions of the social work profession in aging practice. Participants were passionate and enthusiastic about incorporating social work professional values, perspectives, and responsibilities into their elderly care practice. Extensive discussion and conversation took place during and after the workshop.

A three-part series of in-depth keynote speeches were given and world renowned professionals in aging care, shared their cutting-edge research achievements and business models in delivering aging long-term institutional care, as well as presenting the latest aging policy developments in China and around the world. The summit also hosted diverse activities such as an international salon titled “Oriental Elderly Care and Culture,” a panel discussion on welfare concepts and nurturing an aging-care staff’s sense of belonging and achievement, which included a visit to three local facilities that provide aging long-term care in Shanghai. The diversity of the summit underscores the importance of collaboration between government officials, academic scholars, both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, communities, and individuals in order to deliver the most optimal care to the elderly.

As one of the most significant issues in contemporary Chinese society, aging care has attracted both public and academic attention. The summit successfully provided a platform to integrate resources and implement international exchanges, which will influence development of the Chinese aging care system for years to come.