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Saturday, July 1

From the Pen of the Executive Director: July 2017

Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE
NASW Illinois Chapter Executive Director

As is my tradition at the beginning of the fiscal year, I wanted to share some suggested summer reading choices, both very serious and related to the current state of affairs in our country. Elisabeth Rosenthal’s, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back, (2017) is a very frank and astonishing assessment of our very dysfunctional healthcare system. It is a very important read, considering the proposed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act (see below). What I particularly found helpful was the extensive appendices at the conclusion of the book that provide a guide to be a better and more informed consumer of healthcare. Rosenthal, an MD and former New York Times reporter, is now the editor and chief of Kaiser Health News.

The second suggested reading choice is Ron Powers’, No One Cares About Crazy People: The Chaos and Heartbreak of Mental Health in America. (2017) Powers is a great storyteller, and this is a story of his two son’s struggles with mental illness and of his younger son’s eventual suicide. As Powers notes at the beginning of the book, “I hope you do not ‘enjoy’ this book. I hope you are wounded by it, wounded as I have been in writing it. Wounded to act, to intervene…” It is a truly brave and intense book, essential for our profession that cares what happens to the mentally ill and the need to shape better mental health policy.

As we start the fiscal year, I would like to welcome the new 2017–2018 NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors:

  • Mary Gollings, MSW, LCSW, President 2017–2019
  • Cheri Sinnott, MSW, LCSW, Vice President, Budget & Finance 2017–2019
  • Lindsey Adams, MSW, LCSW, Secretary, 2017–2018
  • Ruth Lipschutz, LCSW, ACSW, Member At Larger, 2017–2018
  • Sarah M. Gutierrez, LCSW, Member At-Large, 2017–2019
  • Christine Escobar-Sawicki, LCSW, Calumet District Chair, 2017–2018
  • Jeff Zacharias, ACSW, LCSW, CSAT, CAADC, Chicago District Chair, 2017–2018
  • Kenna Dunlap Johnson, MBA, MSW, LCSW, East Central District Chair, 2017–2019
  • Carol Fisher, MSW, LCSW, Jane Addams District, Chair, 2017–2018
  • Lynn Zakeri, LCSW, Northeastern District Chair, 2017–2019
  • Kim Peek, ACSW, LCSW, Southern District Chair, 2017–2018
  • Mary Abbott, MSW, LCSW, Three Rivers District Chair, 2017–2018
  • Nancy Egger, LCSW, West Central District, 2017–2019
  • Jordan Dobrowski, MSW Student Representative, 2017–2018
  • Leyda Garcia, BSW Student Representative, 2017–2018

A big thank you to all of our outgoing board members who were recognized for their service at the June 9, 2017, chapter board of directors meeting.

  • Don Phelps, President
  • Lauren Weisert, Secretary
  • Grisel Rodriguez- Morales, Chicago District Chair
  • Monica-Guilhot Chartrand, Calumet District Chair
  • Deborah Perry, Three Rivers District Chair
  • Robert Smith, Northeastern District District
  • Donzell Lampkins, Graduate Student Representative
  • Stephanie Flores, Undergraduate Student Representative

Mary Gollings, our incoming chapter president, will be sharing some of her thoughts about her vision for the chapter in her inaugural pen next month. In addition to her work with the NASW-Illinois Chapter Political Action Committee (NASW-IL PAC) and other past board positions, Mary’s initial relationship with the NASW-Illinois Chapter was in 2004 when she served as a field organizer with the National NASW PACE ( Political Action for Candidate Election) while it was housed in the NASW-Illinois Chapter office. She worked on mobilizing social workers during that election cycle immediately after she received her MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Mary’s passion for advocacy and leadership skills at the Jesse Brown VA will be benefit the chapter greatly.

On July 1, 2017, past NASW-Illinois Chapter President Kathy Wehrmann will become NASW President. On behalf of the NASW-Illinois Chapter, I want to wish Kathy the best of luck in this important position. We look forward to your leadership and are ready to help you strengthen and grow the association and the profession nationwide.

As I write this, Illinois is still without a state budget. Earlier in the month, the NASW-Illinois Chapter called for the Illinois General Assembly to pass a balanced budget, one that will fully fund our state’s human services’ needs before our social safety net completely collapses.

At posting time we are also awaiting the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the US Senate deliberates in virtual secrecy with no transparency about American Healthcare Act (LINK). The US Senate version expects to undermine vital protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, eliminate essential health benefits, increase premiums, cut Medicaid, and cause as many as 23 million people to lose coverage.

Starting in July we enter the last five months of the licensure cycle. You can find a wide range of CEU options on our website. Registration is also open for the 2017 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Conference which will take place on October 23–25, 2017, at The Westin North Shore in Wheeling, IL.

Congratulations to NASW-Illinois Chapter member and social work student Kaitlin Wheeler on receiving the National NASW 2017–2018 Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial MSW Scholarship. The Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarships are awarded to master's degree candidates in social work who have demonstrated a commitment to working with, or who have a special affinity with, American Indian/Alaska Native and Hispanic/Latino populations. Kaitlin is a social work student at Illinois State University.

The 2017 NASW Delegate Assembly will be taking place virtually on Friday, August 4, 2017. The NASW Delegate Assembly is the representative, decision-making body—comprised of 277 elected delegates—through which NASW members set broad organizational policy, establish program priorities, and develop a collective stance on public and professional issues. Delegates from the NASW-Illinois Chapter include the following:

  • Mary Gollings, LCSW
  • Don Phelps, PhD, LCSW
  • Candi Gray, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C
  • Mary Garrison, MSW, LCSW, ACSW
  • Kenna Johnson, MSW, LCSW, MBA
  • Ruth Lipschutz, LCSW, ACSW
  • Lauren Weisert, MSW, LCSW
  • Cheri Sinnott, MSW, LCSW
  • Carol Fisher, MSW, LCSW
  • Grisel Rodriguez-Morales, MSW, LCSW

We will have more to report in August following the assembly.

The new NASW Standards for Technology and Social Work Practice have been released after two years of work by NASW, the Council on Social Work Education, the Association of Social Work Boards, and the Clinical Social Work Association. The new standards were also discussed at length at the chapter’s sold-out telehealth training that took place on June 19, 2017. The training was developed by the newly formed NASW-Illinois Chapter Telehealth Shared Interest Group (SIG) chaired by NASW-Illinois Chapter Member At-Large Ruth Lipschutz. I would to thank Ruth and all of the training’s speakers: Kenna Johnson, NASW-Illinois Chapter East Central District Chair and director of Behavorial Health at Gibson Area Hospital and Health Services; Mary Garrison, associate professor of social work at Millikin University; Joe Monahan of Monahan Law Group; Patty Dold from NASW Assurance Services (ASI) Inc.; Drs. Jason Chang and Trilok Shah of In Touch Physicians; and Mary Jo Monahan, CEO of the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB).

Enjoy your summer! 


Joel L. Rubin, MSW, ACSW, CAE, has served as executive director of the 7,000 member Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) since October 1999. He has over twenty-five years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience including extensive work with boards of directors, committees and volunteers, and advocacy around a wide variety of social work, human service, and international political issues. Joel is a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Fellowship Leadership Program and a current adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work as well as Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work.

Posted on 07/01/17 at 08:00 AM

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