Social Work and Health Inequalities Network
The Social Work and Health Inequalities Network was co-founded by Dr Eileen McLeod (Associate Professor, School of Health and Social Studies, University of Warwick) and Professor Paul Bywaters (Coventry University and Honorary Professor School of Health and Social Studies, University of Warwick) and launched at the International Health and Mental Health Conference, Quebec 2004. It has approximately 500 members worldwide, in over 25 countries.
How to Join:
To join the network follow this link
The Social Work and Health Inequalities Network (SWHIN) aims to promote research, discussion and action by social work researchers, educators, practitioners and managers, to combat the causes and consequences of unjust and damaging socially created inequalities in health.
The objectives of the Network are:
- Exchanging information and resources (research evidence, policy statements etc.)
- Research collaboration
- Developing and exchanging examples of good practice
- Developing and exchanging ideas about teaching about health inequalities in qualifying and post-qualifying social work education.
- Influencing Policy Making
The co-convenors of the Network are:
Dr Julie Fish, Reader in Social Work and Health Inequalities, De Montford University, Leicester, UK
Kate Karban, Senior Lecturer, Bradford University, Yorkshire, UK
Executive Committee Members
Paul Bywaters, UK; Barbara Fawcett, Australia; Ros Giles, Australia; Tuula Heinonen, Canada; Kathy Avery Kinew, Canada; Agnes Law, China; Eileen McLeod, UK; Anna Metteri, Finland; Vimla Nadkarni, India; Varda Soskolne, Israel; Joanne Sulman, USA; Roberta Uchoa, Brazil.
- Paul Bywaters has just published a new paper, Inequalities in Child Welfare: Towards a New Policy, Research and Action Agenda, in the British Journal of Social Work (British Journal of Social Work Advance Access published May 3, 2013). The article draws across from the theory and research which have been developed for health inequalities over many decades to suggest that 'variations' in children's chances of being 'in care' or on a child protection plan should be reconceptualised as an issue of inequality. This leads to new directions for policy, practice, research and action.
- World Social Work Day 2013 Kate and Julie attended an event to celebrate World Social Work Day in London held at Westminster. Speakers included Bridget Robb, Interim Chief Executive of the British Association of Social Workers and Hilary Tompsett, Chair of the Joint Universities Social Work Education Committee. Kate made a brief presentation, on behalf of SWHIN, on the impact of social, economic and health inequalities and the ways in which social workers can address these in their practice. David Jones, International Federation of Social Workers Immediate Past President and Global Agenda Coordinator also spoke about the Global Agenda. The meeting was also addressed by Richard Wilkinson, co-author of 'The Spirit Level'. He presented evidence from the book regarding the need to reduce inequalities. He suggested that social workers need to act as advocates to challenge the prejudiced and stigmatised views of people in poverty. The event was one of a number taking place nationally and internationally, to promote the Global Agenda for social work with this year's theme being 'promoting social and economic equality'. A full report of the event can also be found at the following link: http://www.basw.co.uk/news/article/?id=475
- Podsoc Julie Fish was recently interviewed by Patricia Fronek about social work and health inequalities. The interview has been added to the Podsocs collection of interviews for social workers. Podsocs is an initiative of the School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University. http://www.podsocs.com/podcast/social-work-and-health-inequalities/
- Institute of Health Equity Report: Working for Equity: The Role of Health Professionals This new report was launched at an event that took place on March 18th 2013. SWHIN contributed to an annex on the contribution of social work and social care which forms part of this document. The report launches a new programme of activities to address health inequalities through action by health, and social work and social care, professionals on the social determinants of health. You can access the document online here: http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/projects/working-for-health-equity-the-role-of-health-professionals
- The Social Work, Health and Mental Health conference is taking place in Los Angeles in July 2013. Kate Karban has been working with the conference organisers to develop a health inequalities strand that includes four symposia, presented by SWHIN members. These include Developing the social work curriculum: promoting health inequalities within social work education, practice and research; Changing the Course of Inter-Generational Disparities - Promoting a Legacy of Health with Indigenous Peoples; LGBT health inequalities: Implications for social work practice; Building Social Capital to Promote Social Inclusion and Well-being’.
Arrangements will also be made for SWHIN members to meet at the conference and further information will be available nearer the time.
Further details about the conference can be found at:
The co-convenors, Julie Fish and Kate Karban have had the following paper published in Social Work Education: The International Journal - 'Health Inequalities at the Heart of the Social Work Curriculum'
The Global Agenda, drawn up and agreed by the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW) and the International Council on Social Welfare (ICSW)) was confirmed in March 2012. This is now being taken forward in each of the member countries. Within the UK Kate Karban is representing SWHIN in taking this forward and in planning to link the Global Agenda to events celebrating World Social Work Day in March 2013.
The World Conference on Social Work and Social Development took place in Stockholm in July 2012. A number of SWHIN members were present amongst the total of 2500 social workers, social work educators and social development professionals who attended. A keynote presentation from Professor Michael Marmot highlighted the important contribution made by social work to tackling health inequalities. His speech to the conference can be seen online at:
SWHIN members were involved in a number of presentations and symposia. Some of these presentations are available to view under the conference presentations tab on the right hand side of this page. There were also opportunities for members to meet and share experiences during a lunchtime meeting and an evening meal.
Julie Fish and Paul Bywaters from the Social Work and Health Inequalities Network (SWHIN; www.warwick.ac.uk/go/swhin) along with the International Federation of Social Workers met with Professor Michael Marmot in London on October 26th to raise the profile of social work in the global agenda for reducing health inequalities http://www.marmotreview.org/ It was agreed that Michael Marmot and his team (the Global Health Equality Group, GHEG, at UCL), and both social work organisations wish to co-operate in promoting the international SDOH agenda and action on health inequalities. The purpose of the meeting was to explore how this might be developed. The potential for such a partnership was based on the common values of social work and the Commission, seeing health as an issue of human rights and social justice. This agenda is being taken forward by:
1. Keynote speech By Michael Marmot at the Social work and Social development conference in Stockholm.
2. SWHIN will contribute to the Consultation on the SDOH and the health divide in the WHO European Region
3. Potential future collaboration with the GHEG and particularly possibilities for research. IFSW and SWHIN will explore the possibility of securing recognition by the WHO as a civil society partner to the programme on the Social Determinants of Health.
- IASSW (International Association of Schools of Social Work) Award, $2000 to Dr Rosalie Pockett, Univ. of Sydney (Co-ordinator), Dr Liz Beddoe Univ. of Auckland, Prof P.Bywaters, Dr Eileen McLeod Univ. of Warwick, Dr Joan Yoo Seoul National Univ. (Participants) for Symposium on 'Translating global perspectives on health inequalities research into social work education - a Pacific Rim perspective'. Date November 9th 2011. Format: Teleconferencing. DVD, online and printed report subsequently available.
- Julie Fish, one of the Network co-ordinators has prepared an introductory reading list on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender experience of Health Inequalities. See LGBT Experience of Health Inequalities See also videocast, concerning Addressing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender HEalth Inequalities.