Impact Talks 2023

Mark Chupp giving his 2021 Impact Talk

Learn how careers in social work are making a difference in society! You're invited to join the Mandel School for our 2023 Impact Talk series—four excellent opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members to be inspired by our faculty and their specializations.

The events will be held via livestream and recorded for viewing on the Mandel School's YouTube channel. Current Mandel School students can receive 1 PD hour for each Impact Talk they attend. Lunch will be provided for in-person attendees.

Jaroslaw Richard Romaniuk headshot

Addiction as a False Survival Instinct

Richard Romaniuk, Lecturer 

Wednesday, March 1 | 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The biophysics of brain imaging lets us see what people desire and how addiction affects the way humans think. We recognize that hunger, thirst and fear influence the brain structures involved in the overpowering need to satisfy those feelings. There are elements of the survival instinct that take precedence over reason. Drugs of abuse are able to hijack our neuronal system to create a false “survival instinct”. Those people affected by these drugs cannot differentiate their own basic instincts clearly. However, the human brain has many priorities. Learning about how it works can help the chemically-dependent break away from addiction and help us to better support our clients.

Francisca Richter headshot

Advancing Anti-Racism, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) in Data Sciences for Social Impact

Francisca García-Cobián Richter, Research Associate Professor

Wednesday, March 8 | 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Professionals in social work, public health and social sciences in general aim to advance the wellbeing of all people, particularly those who are vulnerable, oppressed, marginalized or living in poverty. This work often involves supporting individuals as they navigate the established societal institutions, but ultimately it should lead to enhancing these institutions through effective social policy. 

Over the last decades, unprecedented advances in technology, artificial intelligence and big data have come to permeate all aspects of life, including those directly concerned with social welfare. Data held by social service agencies contain key information about the characteristics of those they serve, their needs and the programs and interventions in which they are involved. 

Predictive models and algorithms are increasingly used to guide the provision of services in the areas of child welfare, homelessness and in the criminal judicial system. Moreover, there is a growing recognition of disparate treatment and impact in our society based on race, gender, sexual orientation, immigration and other statuses. These injustices leave a footprint in data of many types. As more data becomes available, there is a need to update the skills of data users—from social workers to social analysts—to ethically and thoughtfully make use of this data for social good. 

In response to this need, the Mandel School and the Case School of Engineering, two of CWRU's top schools, have developed a Certificate in Data Sciences for Social Impact. Launched in 2022, we continue to work to make it broadly available with the goal of diversifying the field of Data Science for Social Impact within a framework that advances antiracism, diversity, equity and inclusion (ADEI). This presentation will focus on how ADEI materializes in the curriculum, providing examples relevant to social work practice at the micro and macro levels.

Headshot of Dana Prince

Sexual and Gender Minority Youth: The Need for Affirming Care across the Behavioral and Mental Health Care Systems

Dana Prince, Associate Professor

Wednesday, March 22 | 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Sexual and gender minority youth (SGMY) are disproportionately overrepresented in child welfare and juvenile court, with estimates ranging from 16 to 32% compared to 2 to 8% in the general population. Rates of depression, suicide ideation, suicide attempts and hospitalizations among SGM system-involved youth far exceed those of their heterosexual and cisgender peers. SGMY experience systemic barriers and traumatic experiences that often include discrimination and injustices. Systems-level change, grounded in community capacity building and empowerment for SGMY, is needed to address systemic injustices and advance care equity for SGMY.

In this talk, Prince will share insights and findings from her federally-funded research with diverse stakeholders, including child welfare and juvenile court, SGMY with lived experience in these systems, and SGMY-serving community-based agencies to transform systems and support SGMY thriving.

Dexter Voisin standing headshot in Higley Research Commons

America the Beautiful and Violent: The Response of Social Work to Anti-Black Racism

Dexter Voisin, Dean

Wednesday, March 29 | 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

America the Beautiful and Violent: The Response of Social Work to Anti-Black Racism will illuminate how major social policy and practice in the U.S. has created Black racialized poverty and trauma, resulting in a higher disease burden and social disadvantage born by Black Americans. It will highlight important steps the social work profession can adopt to promote an anti-Black racist approach aimed at furthering racial and social equality.

Learn more and register on our Events page