Social Work
Section Newsletter
Winter 2008

Greetings from Social Work Section Chair Jeanne Saunders

 Jeanne Saunders, Chair

Dear Social Work Section Members,


As I begin my term as chair of the Social Work Section, I am excited at the opportunities before the Section and look forward to charting the future of the Section with all of you.  I have been active in the Section for the past 10 years, though I had attended the APHA Annual Meeting many years before getting involved in the Section.  Prior to becoming chair-elect and then chair, I served as the Section’s membership chair for two years.  I presently am a faculty member at The University of Iowa School of Social Work.  Before joining the university I worked in the child welfare arena and for the prevention of teen pregnancy and child abuse for about 20 years. 


It was great to see many of you in Washington, D.C. at the Annual Meeting in November.  Thanks to everyone who worked to make it a successful meeting.  For those of you who were not able to make the trip to D.C., a few highlights of the Social Work Section’s events:

ü      Congratulations to Bari Cornet, Insley-Evans Social Worker of the Year -  please see her remarks included in this edition of the newsletter;

ü      The Social Work Section sponsored five scientific sessions, one poster session and one invited session – thanks to Kim Jaffee who served as program chair and all of the presenters;

ü      Even though they began very early, we held three business meetings to discuss the business and direction of our section; 

ü      Our booth was well attended, and a number of potential new members stopped by to learn more about the Section – thanks to Ed Saunders for coordinating the booth again this year;   

ü      At the close of the meeting, new officers and leaders of the Section who began their terms:

§         Chair: Jeanne Saunders

§         Chair-elect: Theora Evans

§         Secretary: Tammy Thomas

§         Membership Chair: Kim Jaffe

§         Program Chair: Robert Keefe

§         Newsletter/Website Editor: Jennifer Saunders

§         Governing Councilor: Gary Lounsberry


Thanks to Kim Jaffee, Section Councilor, and Deb Schild, Governing Councilor, who completed their terms in 2007.   Included in this newsletter is a list of many of the Section leaders.  Each edition of the newsletter will feature some of the Section leaders and a description of their roles within the Section. 


One of my primary goals as chair of the Section is to facilitate communication among the leadership and among the membership as a whole.  I believe this will increase our opportunities to support one another to strengthen the Section and in our daily work as public health social workers.  I think this newsletter is one way to facilitate our communication, and I welcome your ideas for topics or announcements that would be of interest to the membership.  Also our Section Web site is under transition/development and will be launched in the near future – another way to share information among the membership and others interested in this wonderful Section.  Again, any ideas for topics or information to include are welcome. 


A second goal I have for the Section is to welcome students and young professionals to the Section by encouraging their participation and bringing one or more of them to the next Annual Meeting in San Diego. (As I write this, we are expecting up to a foot of snow tonight in Iowa and San Diego sounds very inviting!)


Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any ideas for the Section or any questions you might have  (    I look forward to serving as the chair of the Section and working with all of you during the next few years.


Warm regards,


Jeanne Saunders

Congratulations to Bari Cornet: 2007 Social Worker of the Year

Bari Cornet, MS, MSW, MPH, was honored with the Insley-Evans Social Worker of the year award at the APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.CBari is presently the field work consultant and a lecturer at the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare. She works closely with students interested in public health social work.  Bari is recognized as having expertise in public health social work and focuses on maternal and child health.  She has done extensive work in the MediCal Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program and MediCal Managed Care and in the areas of access to care and community centered planning.  


Bari received her award at the Social Work section reception at the 2007 Annual Meeting.  She is pictured (center) with Dean Lorraine Midanik (left) and Reg Hutchinson (right).



(These are excerpts of the comments made by Bari Cornet when she received the Insley Evans Public Health Social Worker of the Year Award from the APHA Social Work Section on Nov. 5, 2007 in Washington, D.C.)


Public Health Social Work: Our Past and Our Future


As I prepared to receive this wonderful award, I began to reflect on not only Virginia Insley and Juanita Evans, but also on the rest of the history of public health social work.  Our history shapes who we are as a profession as well as guiding us into the future.  I will speak about the early days of the profession on into its future.  It is a continuum that reaches to combined and interdisciplinary professional education.


Sources of Public Health and Social Work

Public health and social work grew from similar roots.  Both were concerned with social reform and social justice.  The Charity Organizations Society (1887) was founded to deal with poverty in the urban slums.  Although we think of the control of communicable diseases as being the province of public health, it was the Charity Organization Society in New York and its social workers who did the first comprehensive analysis of tuberculosis in 1903.  Both disciplines were (and are) concerned with immigrant populations in urban centers.


The two disciplines have a shared historic core mission.  Both believe in the worth & dignity of the individual.  Both share a commitment to the improvement of the quality of life of individuals.  They promote social justice, protect and enhance community well-being and ameliorate complex social health problems.  The major health problems to be solved today are those which require social work interventions.  Advances in medical technology have virtually eliminated handicapping conditions resulting from infectious diseases such as TB.  But those same technologies have enabled very low birth weight babies with handicapping conditions to survive and have lifelong chronic illnesses.


The two fields rely on each other’s expertise: epidemiology from Public Health, psychosocial determinants of health from Social Work, community organizing from both at different times, and analysis of the social environment from Social Work. 


We often refer to public health as having the prevention focus.  But it comes from both places.  Primary prevention (preventing those conditions that might lead to illness or disability) is the province of public health.  Secondary (intervention after the disease process has begun) and tertiary (restore functioning or rehabilitation for improved function) prevention come more from social work. 


Public health and social work perspectives are interrelated when addressing the continuum of systems, populations and individuals.


The two disciplines have separate, but related histories. Social work has been a part of the nation’s public health since 1912 and the creation of the Children’s Bureau, which recognized the importance of viewing the whole child and the interrelated problems of child health, dependency, delinquency and child labor.  It used specialists from many fields. The first full-time social worker in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) was in 1923 at Ellis Island.  However, social work was not firmly established in USPHS until the Social Security Act of 1935.  This provided health grants to the states for planning and organizing.  It also authorized Maternal and Child Health Service.  Not until the late 1940s and early 1950s, however, was there a distinct social work money stream.


The MCH programs emerged from the settlement house movement.   The first two Chiefs of the U.S. Children’s Bureau came out of Hull House.  The first five chiefs were social workers.


The two women for whom this award is named played significant roles in conceptualizing the integration of the two fields. Virginia Insley wrote,  “Social Workers were brought into maternal and child health programs to apply their special knowledge and skills to the total planning, organization and delivery of health services for mothers and children.  Knowledge and skill in identifying and dealing with social needs of mothers and children, understanding of the dynamics of human relationships, knowledge of available community services, and ability to organize social services were major contributions of social work from the outset.”  (Insley, 1977)


Several years later, Juanita Evans said,  “Social factors related to prevention and treatment are a major responsibility of social work.  Therefore, it is particularly important that initial planning and continued attention be given to the social component in the overall design for delivery of health services to families....”    “A major contribution of social work is the knowledge and skill in identifying and dealing with social needs of mothers and children, understanding the dynamics of human relationships,  knowledge of the range of community services available to meet social needs, and the ability to organize social services to meet these needs.”  (Presented at Public Health Social Work in Maternal and Child Health: A Forward Plan, 1985).

Greetings from Nomination Committee Chair Theora Evans

Dear Colleagues:

Theora Evans, Nominations Chair


Let me introduce myself. My name is Theora Evans. I am serving the Social Work Section in a dual role; Nomination Committee chair and chair-elect.  Additionally, I am the associate dean at The University of Tennessee in the College of Social Work on the Memphis campus. Adolescent health is my research area of interest.


As nomination chair, I implore you to consider serving the Social Work Section in a leadership position.  Historically public health social workers have been the voices of the nation in every level of government, in numerous practice settings, NGOs, etc. As most of you know, public health and social work evolved simultaneously in the United States.  Their emergence was a reaction to unbridled abject poverty and quality of life issues. Currently both professions serve populations nationally and internationally without regard for socio-economic status.   Social work, nursing and pediatrics were among the first professions to triage and develop public health advocacy and interdisciplinary practice. Unfortunately, the profession is not as visible in the Association as it once was.


The Social Work Section needs its brightest and best to take ownership in the shaping of our future within the Association. Why the Social Work Section v. Maternal and Child Health or Gerontological Health, etc? I, like many of you, perceive myself as a social worker who practices in the area of MCH, and I have dabbled in geriatrics as well.  We play multiple roles, and some of us have become subsumed in various practice areas within APHA to the detriment of social work.   No one is asking you to choose your practice area over your profession.  We just need to bring new and stimulating ideas to the Section.  Join us as we put a new face and energy on a historic relationship (public health and social work) that seeks an infusion of fresh approaches to bio-psycho-social issues of the day.


The vacancies in the Social Work Section this year are as follows:


    2 Section Councilors (Term: 2008-2011)

    1 Governing Councilor (Term: 2008-2010)

A Note from Membership Chair Kim Jaffee

The duties of the APHA Social Work Section membership chair is to promote membership in the Section through activities that reach out to public health social work practitioners and academics. The most recent report from the Committee on Membership shows an increase in the Social Work Section membership from 209 in November to 230 in December 2007. One of the goals that I have set for membership this year is to increase membership by 70 to attain a total membership of 300 by December 2008.  We will seek to accomplish this goal by reaching out to those Social Work Section members whose memberships have lapsed over the past year by mailing each lapsed member a letter encouraging them to renew their membership. In addition, APHA Membership Office staff are willing to work with us to send out e-mails to current members asking them to identify colleagues that might be interested in joining the Section. Unfortunately a couple of changes that might affect increasing membership are: 1) The Counsel on Social Work Education (CSWE) has moved the Annual Program Meeting to the end of October-beginning of November, which coincides with the APHA Annual Meeting; and 2) Secondary section membership now costs $30, which includes full participation within the secondary section along with voting privledges. However, the cost may deter APHA members from adding section memberships.

 Kim Jaffee, Membership Chair

Dr. Kim Jaffee is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Syracuse University. Dr. Jaffee has conducted research in the areas of health policy, mental health, maternal and child health, intimate partner violence, and racial segregation. She is particularly interested in exploring the impact of neighborhood environment on health and mental health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Prior to receiving her PhD, she practiced public health social work as a policy researcher for many years in substance abuse and maternal and child health at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the New York State Department of Health. She has been a member of APHA since 1988 and a member of the APHA Social Work Section since 1998. In 2007 she served as the APHA Social Work Section program chair and is now serving as the membership chair for the Section.


A Note from Program Planning Chair Rob Keefe

 Rob Keefe, Program Planning chair

Hello Social Work Section members.  Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Rob Keefe.  I am the program planning chair for the Social Work Section.  I am also a faculty member at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work at the State University of New York, where I teach courses in social work practice in health and mental health care settings and conduct research on factors that inhibit the access to and provision of health and mental health care services. 

This year I have the pleasure of serving as the Social Work Section program planning chair for the 136th Annual Meeting.  I am thrilled to serve in this capacity and to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful public health social workers throughout the country.  The role of the program planning chair is to help structure social work’s presence at the meeting.  To this end, the program planning chair creates a call for abstracts, establishes the criteria for abstract review and selects abstract reviewers, arranges the accepted abstracts into sessions, selects moderators for each oral and roundtable session, coordinates publicity for the Section and schedules business meetings and social hours at the conference.  The Social Work Section will once again play an active role in the conference, the theme of which is “Public Health without Borders.”  I hope that many of you will submit abstracts for the conference so as to help educate the social work profession of the wonderful work you do in public health.

I hope that many of you plan to submit abstracts and come to the Annual Meeting.  I look forward to meeting you in San Diego in October at what I am certain will be another wonderful conference.

Best wishes,

Rob Keefe

Student Assembly: Greetings From Social Work Section Liaison Jennifer Saunders

Jennifer Saunders, SA-SW Liaison

I am starting my second year as the Social Work Section liaison to the Student Assembly.  My role is to facilitate student involvement, recognition and leadership in the Social Work Section while promoting Social Work Section activities in the APHA Student Assembly.

The Student Assembly is a student-led organization within APHA that is dedicated to enhancing students' professional development by providing resources, fostering diversity and promoting opportunities.

I invite all of you to be active and engaged members in the Social Work Section.  I enjoyed meeting some of you at this past APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.  I hope many of you are planning to attend the next Annual Meeting in San Diego, Oct. 25-29, 2008.

I'll be communicating with you primarily via e-mail, the Social Work Section newsletter, and announcements posted to the Social Work Section Web site.  If you are a student member of the Social Work Section, keep your eye out for an e-mail from me in the next several months.

In case we have not met, I'll tell you a little about myself.  I graduated in May 2007 with my MSW from the University of Iowa.  Before that I earned my BS in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I recently moved to Denver and am enjoying the winter (less cold and more sunny than the midwest!) and my new job as a research analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Please feel free to contact me with any ideas, suggestions, or opportunities to get involved with Section activities and APHA.  E-mail:

Best wishes,
Jennifer Saunders

And Finally a Word From Newsletter Editor and Web Site Editor Jennifer Saunders

Hello (again) Social Work Section members!

I am excited to be your new newsletter and Web site editor (in addition to being the Student Assembly liaison to the Social Work Section — see above).  I am looking forward to receiving articles for the newsletter and content for our Web site!  This year the Social Work Web site will be transitioning from the old format to the new standardized APHA template.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make the site more accessible and to improve its use as a tool to communicate with one another. I welcome any suggestions or comments about improving the Web site as well.  I anticipate that the new site will be up and running within the next month or two, and I hope you will add it to your bookmarks!

I am also excited to coordinate the production of the Social Work newsletter.  Please do not hesitate to contact me with articles, announcements, photos, book reviews, project updates or other news and notes.  I also welcome any feedback you have about the newsletter in general.  The next edition of the newsletter will be published in June.  Please submit your articles to me mid-May.  I'll be sending you reminders about this as it gets closer to summer!

Social Work Section Leadership

The following is a list of the current Social Work Section leaders.  The next edition of the newsletter will feature other members who are playing important roles in the Section.


Social Work Leadership Roster


Chair (elected – 2 year term)

Jeanne Saunders, PhD, MSSW, LISW 


Chair-elect (elected – 2 year term)

Theora Evans, PhD, MSW, MPH


Immediate past Chair (2 year term)

Delois Dilworth-Berry, MSW, ACSW, LCSW, LMHC


Secretary (elected – 2 year term)

Tammy Thomas, MSW, MPH


Governing Councilors (elected – 2 year term)

          Gary Lounsberry

          Charles Robbins


Section Councilors (elected – 3 year term)

Roger Boyd, PhD, MSW

          Sarah Sisco, MPH, MSSW

          Betty J. Ruth, MSW, MPH

          Julia Hastings, MSW, PhD

Tinka Markham Piper, MPH, CSW

Diane Mitschke, MSW, PhD


Program Chair (volunteer/appointed)

Rob Keefe, PhD, ACSW


Membership Chair (volunteer/appointed)

Kim Jaffee, PhD, MSW


Newsletter/Web Site Editor (volunteer/appointed)

         Jennifer Saunders, MSW

2008 Association Of State And Territorial Public Health Social Workers Conference

Join Reg Hutchinson and Rob Keefe in representing the APHA Social Work Section at the conference.




Please join us March 2-3, 2008 for the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Social Workers Annual Conference in Birmingham, Ala., at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort & Spa Hotel. Stay an additional day for the annual Alabama Public Health Social Work Seminar on March 4, 2008.


Presentations will be given on topics including primary care, hepatitis, infant mortality, learning collaborations, maternal and child health, health disparities, and family planning care coordinators.


To register for the conference, send your registration and fees to Kathy Burk (see below). 


Hotel reservations for the conference and seminar can be made online at the Ross Bridge Web site or by calling the number below.


Please share these exciting opportunities with your social work friends and encourage them to join us for a rewarding time.


Time is short, so act now!


REGISTRATION FEE: Registration fee includes all materials, breaks, and luncheon.

March 2 and 3: Registration ASTPHSW Conference Fee: $165

March 4, 2008: Alabama Public Health Social Work Seminar: $35


Payment Information: Please make checks payable to ASTPHSW. A check MUST be attached to registration form. Send completed form and payment to:

Kathy Burk

Mississippi State Department of Health

P. O. Box 1700

Jackson, MS 39215

Office: (601) 987-4680 Fax: (601) 987-4665


REFUND POLICY: No refunds or cancellations for no-shows.


The Ross Bridge Hotel

(800) 593-6419

Join an APHA Leadership Board or Committee

The leadership appointment process is an excellent opportunity for you to get more involved in APHA activities.  You can serve on one of the 16 boards/committees such as the Education Board, Equal Health Opportunity Committee or an award committee. 

Click here for a detailed description of the APHA boards and committees.

Click here to download an application form.

Please note that the application deadline is March 31, 2008. 

If you have any questions, please visit or contact APHA Member Appointments Manager Natalie Raynor at

Celebrate National Public Health Week 2008 - "Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance"

The health effects of climate change will take center stage during National Public Health Week, April 7-13, 2008. As part of the weeklong observance, themed "Climate Change: Our Health in the Balance,"  APHA will lead the charge in helping people, communities, and families recognize that adapting to climate change and mitigating its impact is critical not just for the health of our planet, but for the health of the people in our nation and around the world.

Changes in our climate are causing more severe weather events. Extreme weather conditions such as heat waves, high winds, snowstorms, floods and hurricanes have the potential to dramatically affect the health and safety of both individuals and our communities. Changing ecosystems allow for emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases such as dengue or malaria, which are changing the spectrum of disease risks affecting populations. In poorer parts of the world, drought and floods often force people to move away from lands no longer producing enough food, often resulting in hunger and malnutrition. Moreover, contaminated drinking water can result in outbreaks of diarrheal diseases, leading to dehydration or death.

Few Americans will ever see the melting Greenland ice cap up close, or interact with an arctic polar bear facing extinction as its habitat melts.  But local public health professionals around the country increasingly will be dealing with the impacts of climate change on the ground, every day. Join APHA as we work to create a healthier planet. Visit the official National Public Health Week Web site at to check out the climate change blog and brochure, sign up to be a National Public health Week partner, or add your week's event to the national calendar.  For more information about National Public Health Week, contact

Looking Ahead

The next issue of the newsletter will be published in mid-May.

Send your

  • Articles
  • Announcements
  • Photos
  • Book Reviews
  • Project Updates
  • News
  • Notes

to the Newsletter Editor!

Jennifer Saunders