Adapting Social Work and Health Practice following Covid 19 and other Disasters
On 23 February the ISS21 Research for Civil Society and Social Action (REACT) Cluster, in partnership with colleagues in the School of Applied Social Studies (MSW Programme), hosted an online seminar with Margaret Alston, Professor of Social Work at Newcastle University, Australia.
The seminar focused on the response of social workers to increasing disasters including the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events (droughts, flooding) which are often associated with climate change. Drawing on the Australian experience, the discussion covered ways that social workers and other health professionals have had to adapt to significant disaster events. At the same time the dominance of climate change denial amongst politicians has limited attention to social policies necessary to prepare for increasing disasters. Professor Alston called on social workers and other health professionals to take a lead in this emerging field of practice, in order to shape and influence socially just policy responses.
The seminar was chaired by Dr Fiachra Ó Suilleabháin, School of Applied Social Studies & ISS21.
Margaret Alston is Professor of Social Work at Newcastle University and Emerita Professor at Monash University. Previously she was Professor of Social Work and Head of the Department at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (2008-17) and prior to that was Professor of Social Work at Charles Sturt University. She has established the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability research unit (GLASS) facilitating gender research and PhD study for numerous students. In 2010 she was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for her services to social work and to rural women and in 2021 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to social work and to women. She has undertaken a number of research projects across the Asia-Pacific region and within Australia on gender, climate change, and the impacts of environmental disasters on people and communities. She has published widely on gender equality issues, rural social issues, social work and environmental disasters including several books.
For more on this story contact:
Dr Margaret Scanlon, ISS21 Research Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org)