Advisory Committee to Help Raise Public Awareness of Social Work
The National Association of Social Workers is announcing it has formed an advisory committee of Hollywood writers, award-winning journalists, social workers involved in the media and others to educate the public about social workers and increase awareness of the profession.
The NASW Communications Network (NCN) Advisory Committee members include author and Pulitzer-winning Washington Post reporter Kirstin Downey; Academy Award-nominated director and screenwriter Oren Moverman; social worker, anger management expert and movie consultant George Anderson; author and screenwriter Antwone Fisher; and social worker, author and national columnist Sherry Amatenstein.
“Social work is an exciting and rewarding profession that sometimes does not get the notice and respect it deserves in media and society,” said NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH. “We are thrilled that the members of our new advisory committee want to help attract civic-minded students to the profession, help more people find and support social work services in their communities, and include social work perspectives in a variety of media.”
The NCN Advisory Committee will identify ways to promote social work roles in television and film, position more social workers as consumer education experts, inform public policy debates with social work research, and increase interest among youth about the social work profession.
Below is a list of advisory board members. Please click on their names to read full biographies:
- Sherry Amatenstein, MSW, LMSW: Social worker, author, columnist and talk show guest.
- George Anderson, MSW: Social worker, anger management firm owner and movie consultant.
- Matt Anderson, MSW: Social worker and documentary film producer.
- Matt Conn: Communications director at the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Social Work and university admissions expert.
- Kirsten Downey: Author, award-winning journalist and former Washington Post reporter.
- Suzanne Dworak-Peck, MSW: Past president of NASW and International Federation of Social Workers, NASW Communications Network founder.
- Antwone Fisher: Author of “Antwone Fisher,” Hollywood screenwriter and former foster child.
- Kathy Gurland, MSW: Social worker, founder of “Peg’s Group” cancer consulting service, national columnist and former actress.
- Jenna Mehnert, MSW: Social worker, NASW-Pennsylvania executive and former political staffer.
- Oren Moverman: Oscar-nominated movie director, screenwriter and former reporter.
- Maribel Quiala, MSW, LCSW: Social worker, women’s health and Latina issues media expert.
- Ellen Rostand, MBA: Assistant dean of communications, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University. Former health care communications executive.
- Terrie Williams, MSW: Social worker, author, PR firm and Stay Strong Foundation founder.
NASW’s new media advisory committee builds upon the work of NASW Past President Suzanne Dworak-Peck, who founded NCN in the early 1990s. Part of the NCN’s activities include acting as a Hollywood referral source. NCN has now been incorporated into the multi-year National Social Work Public Education Campaign, which is made possible by donations made to the NASW Foundation.
Since the awareness campaign launched in 2005, NASW has placed print ads in national women’s magazines, conducted national consumer issue surveys, placed billboards around state capitals and in Times Square, implemented social media campaigns, aired a national video, built a series of educational websites, and connected hundreds of media professionals with social work experts. NASW recently expanded its earned media strategy to develop new relationships in the entertainment industry and offers three public education sites:
- Help Starts Here.org provides consumer tips on a range of social issues
- SocialWorkersSpeak.org provides a forum about social work portrayals in film, TV and news
- BeASocialWorker.org offers students information on how to pursue a social work career