Update on SWHPN's anti-racism work

Hello SWHPN Members! On behalf of the SWHPN Board and staff, we hope you are enjoying a relaxing and safe summer. At the 2022 Conference, we extended our commitment to enhanced communications and transparency with our members. We hope you have enjoyed the new monthly Membership newsletter which came out last week, as well as our first Advocacy and Policy newsletter.  It was developed in conjunction with several Board members, and is generously supported by Healthsperian, a Washington DC-based company that provides healthcare advocacy on behalf of non-profits across the country; they are providing this to SWHPN free of charge to help our members stay abreast of policy issues that may impact our field, and have been supporters of SWHPN conferences for a number of years.

Additionally, we are working to write more regular blog posts, to provide more opportunities to gather feedback from members, and to develop new member benefits, including leadership and professional development opportunities. We also want to make sure our members stay up-to-date on what is happening behind the scenes with the Board and staff as we take on our own development to transform the organization into an anti-racist, inclusive space. 

Earlier this spring, the SWHPN Board and staff worked with Lisa Secrest-Ehrhardt, a Washington, DC-based DEI consultant and social worker that led the white Board members through a series of trainings to examine our own internal biases, as well as relationship-building conversations to assist in building trust among Board members. The Board members of color caucused separately with Dr. Secrest-Ehrhardt. The entire Board met up in person prior to the conference kick-off for a morning of open and honest reflection and dialogue about how the organization should proceed to enhance equity in our activities.

SWHPN Board and staff are continuing to improve the organization’s bylaws, policies, and committee structure with the goal of addressing issues that have arisen since the previous modification of our strategic plan in 2018. Our world has changed tremendously in the past few years. We are working to build a deeper understanding of how to operate within an anti-racist, anti-colonialism, anti-oppressive structure. Our next step in this process will be for the Board and staff to start with Imago Works later this fall to continue digging into this work, and we will continue to update members on the ways in which we envision strengthening SWHPN. We look forward to our membership participating in this effort in the future.

Please feel free to reach out with any ideas or feedback - we’d love to hear what you’d like to see at SWHPN!

Take care,
Jessica Strong, Executive Director

SWHPN Executive Committee:

Anne Kelemen, LICSW, APHSW-C, Chair

Danielle Jonas, LCSW, Vice Chair

Caitlin Scanlon, LCSW, Secretary

Tanisha Bowman, MSW, LSW, APHSW-C, CGP, NEDA Proficient

Stacy Remke, LICSW, APHSW-C, Past Chair 

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