James Herbert Williams, PhD, MSW

Welcome to New Orleans and the 21st Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)! This year’s scientific meeting will be especially exciting for several reasons:

At the 2016 annual conference, we celebrated the history of SSWR and our partnership with the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare to formally launch the Grand Challenges for Social Work. Over the past year there has been much discourse in our profession regarding the potential for the Grand Challenges of Social Work Initiative and their impact on major social issues in our country and their implications for the profession. The SSWR Board and the Conference Planning Committee decided that the “Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth” Grand Challenge would be the theme for our 21st Annual Conference. This year’s conference theme, “Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth,” engages our profession in important issues and questions around prevention and investments in the future of our society. The SSWR’s annual conference has become an important scientific meeting for our profession. It is a leading venue for scientific exchange, advancement and connection of social work researchers at all career levels.

Vice President and Conference Chair Diane DePanfilis and the Conference Planning Committee have assembled an exciting four days of intellectually stimulating programming. Offerings include the Thursday morning Research Methods Workshops and Special Sessions on Research Priorities and Capacity Building; excellent invited and peer-reviewed sessions, a wonderful Presidential Plenary by Reverend Jeffrey Brown, Pastor and President of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace), and the Opening Plenary session by Dr. Gerald Mallon, Hunter College.

Our program also features the highly regarded Aaron Rosen Lecture, delivered this year by Dr. Enola Proctor, Washington University in St. Louis, and a broad range of high quality workshops, roundtables, symposia, papers and ePosters that advance knowledge in social work practice and policy. New this year are the inaugural Brief and Brilliant session and two Research Capacity Development Committee (RCDC) sessions.

As is always the case, this year’s conference was enriched by suggestions and input from many SSWR members. We are extremely grateful for the support received from social work education programs and national organizations. Acknowledgements and thanks will appear on the SSWR website, on signage prominently displayed at the conference, in the conference app, and the printed program. We owe a debt of gratitude for conference planning and logistical support to staffers Jennifer Lewis and DeeJay Garringo, and to Bill Haire and Patty Couch at Travelink. Their constant support and meticulous attention to detail allows SSWR to provide its members with an outstanding conference every year.

We are also most grateful to our many institutional partners and friends. The development of the Society over the years would not have been possible without the tremendous support from the many distinguished social work researchers comprising the membership of the Society, the leadership of graduate and undergraduate social work degree programs, and collaborative social work organizations including the National Association of Social Workers, the Council on Social Work Education, the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors, the Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work, the National Association of Deans and Directors, the St. Louis Group for Excellence in Research and Education, and the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.

On behalf of the entire SSWR Board of Directors, thank you for attending this year’s conference in New Orleans. Have fun!

James Herbert Williams, PhD, MSW
SSWR Board of Directors*

*President, James Herbert Williams; Past-President, Edwina Uehara; Vice President, Diane DePanfilis; Vice-President Elect, Karina Walters; Immediate Past- Vice President, Yolanda Padilla; Secretary, Elizabeth Lightfoot; Treasurer, Trina Shanks; Members-at-Large, Laura Abrams, Kimberly Bender, Renee Cunningham-Williams, Jeremy Goldbach, Anna Haley-Lock, Michael Lindsey, and Rebecca Rebbe (student member-at-large).