Social Work in the Global Environment

9th Annual Conference on Social Work in the Global Environment

social determinants of health:
local-global challenges for vulnerable populations

NOVEMBER 6, 2020   -- 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. -- Online

All sessions will have live participation opportunities, but if you are unable to tune in during the live sessions, registered participants will have access to the recordings to view at any time.

Conference Overview 

This year’s virtual conference on Social Work in the Global Environment aims to contribute to the local-global perspective in social work, utilizing the strategy: Thinking globally and acting locally.

The theme of this year's conference is Social Determinants of Health: Local-Global Challenges for Vulnerable Populations.

The conference will include panel discussions and presentations from both invited speakers and students. Presentations will include issues relating to three sub-themes: environmental impacts and issues, regional and national conflicts, and challenges to health systems/delivery that affect the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

INVITED SPEAKERS
Professor Charles Agyemang

Professor Charles Agyemang

Migrant Health, Chronic Diseases, Culture & the Environment: Local-Global Perspectives

International migration has a huge positive social and economic impact on the destination countries, home countries as well as the wellbeing of migrants themselves. Migration is also associated with many challenges including exploitation, racism, “3D” jobs (for dirty, dangerous, and demeaning), poor housing and unhealthy lifestyle. These challenges can have a profound impact on the health of migrants and their descendants for generations. The current COVID-19 pandemic crisis in migrants and ethnic minority communities in high-income countries is a very good example. This lecture will discuss current migration patterns and the impact of migration on health outcomes among migrants drawing examples from the RODAM study http://www.rod-am.eu/ and the current COVID-19 pandemic in migrants and ethnic minority groups in high-income countries.

  • Biography

    Prof. Charles Agyemang is a Professor of Global Migration, Ethnicity and Health and Principal Investigator at Amsterdam University Medical Centres, University of Amsterdam. He received his PhD from Erasmus Medical Centre, University of Rotterdam, and master’s degree at Edinburgh University Medical School. His research is focused on ethnic inequalities in cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and NCDs in low- and middle-income countries. Prof. Agyemang has about 20 years research experience and has authored/co-authored over 280 published papers, and edited several books. He is the PI of the RODAM study – European Commission funded project on gene-environmental interaction on obesity & diabetes among African migrants. He is a fellow of the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) under the Consolidation Award program. Prof. Agyemang is currently the Vice President of the Migrant Health section of the European Public health Association. He is an Associate Editor for Internal and Emergency Medicine, and serves as an Editorial Board member for several journals. He was member of the WHO taskforce on NCDs in Migrant and was a member and a rapporteur of the Planning Committee for WHO Global Consultation on Migrant Health.

Dr Bibek Sharma

Dr. Bibek Sharma

Global Climate Change, Food Production and Supply, and the Role of Science in Protecting Vulnerable Populations

 Global Climate Change is real and can disrupt agriculture which is an important sector which not only supports US economy but major economies worldwide. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the humanity is facing, and agriculture feels that effect in a profound way. Even though, agriculture is a contributor of climate change, through proper steps and sustainable practices, agriculture can be a mitigator. The Global increase in human population, associated with ever shrinking areas of land available for agriculture is putting immense pressure on growers. The challenge is to feed the growing population but by balancing the needs of nature. Can agriculture, food supply, population, and climate change work together? What role can science and scientific community, innovation, and technology play? Where do manufacturers of plant protection products fit into this puzzle? Can sound climate change policy, agriculture policy, and pesticide regulations co-exist and help boost the socio-economic status and ensure social justice?

  • Biography

    Global Climate Change, Food Production and Supply, and the Role of Science in Protecting Vulnerable Populations

     Global Climate Change is real and can disrupt agriculture which is an important sector which not only supports US economy but major economies worldwide. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges the humanity is facing, and agriculture feels that effect in a profound way. Even though, agriculture is a contributor of climate change, through proper steps and sustainable practices, agriculture can be a mitigator. The Global increase in human population, associated with ever shrinking areas of land available for agriculture is putting immense pressure on growers. The challenge is to feed the growing population but by balancing the needs of nature. Can agriculture, food supply, population, and climate change work together? What role can science and scientific community, innovation, and technology play? Where do manufacturers of plant protection products fit into this puzzle? Can sound climate change policy, agriculture policy, and pesticide regulations co-exist and help boost the socio-economic status and ensure social justice?

Rep. Schlossberg

Rep. Mike Schlossberg

Mental Health in the Legislature, the Blurring of the Personal and the Professional, and a Call to Action

Mike Schlossberg has been an advocate for mental health for his entire legislative career, advocating for better funding, more access, and conscious efforts to reduce health care disparities while increasing the mental health workforce across all levels. For him, these issues are both professional and personal. Representative Schlossberg has suffered from depression and anxiety issues for his entire adult life, and he has attempted to use these stories to advocate for those who, like him, suffer from mental illness.  In this presentation, Representative Schlossberg will give an overview of mental illness advances in the legislature, and where these areas currently stand. He will also discuss his personal story and how it made him a more effective advocate for mental health services, particularly in establishing public policy that reduces obstacles to care for vulnerable populations and to also make it more accessible for those hesitant to seek out support and treatment. Representative Schlossberg is the author of HB1459, which was signed into law by Governor Wolf as Act 69 of July 23, 2020, to facilitate timely access to treatment for first responders in Pennsylvania.  

  • Biography

    Rep. Mike Schlossberg - 132nd Legislative District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

    Before his election to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Nov. 6, 2012, Mike Schlossberg was employed by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce as Vice President of Member Relations and Applied Technology. In that role, Representative Schlossberg utilized his state-certification as an urban revitalization specialist, working with small-business owners to help them navigate the challenges of the Great Recession.  This included providing technical training for small business owners to grow their businesses.  He also served as a member of Allentown City Council, becoming the youngest person ever elected to that office.  

    Representative Schlossberg is committed to a strong and vibrant Pennsylvania that serves the best interests of people, not special interests.  He knows what we all know: Pennsylvania works best when workers are paid a fair wage, have good health care, live in a safe and affordable home and can save some money for education and a secure retirement. Representative Schlossberg is a champion for world-class education, regardless of zip code, for all our children through early childhood learning, neighborhood schools and career, technical and higher education.  

    He is also working for a strong democracy with nonpartisan redistricting, elections free from the influences of big-donors and easier access to voting rights.  

    Because climate change is the moral challenge of our times, Representative Schlossberg is a supporter of our constitution right to clean air and clean water, fighting to hold corporate polluters accountable for their actions.  

    Since taking office, Representative Schlossberg has proven to be an effective legislator, serving the needs of his district as well as fighting for the values important to Pennsylvanians.  Since taking office, Representative Schlossberg has brought $53 million in new revenue to the financially challenged Allentown School District, helping local leaders to avoid teacher layoffs. This session, he has advanced bipartisan legislation to increase mental health services for first responders.  In 2015, Governor Wolf signed Representative Schlossberg’s Rape Survivor Child Custody and Support legislation into law.  Thanks to Representative Schlossberg’s efforts to increase vaccination rates in our schools, Governor Wolf closed loopholes that made Pennsylvania one of the most under-vaccinated states in the country.  

    He also fought for historic legislation in 2013 to invest in Pennsylvania’s roads, bridges and mass transit, helping to secure over $419 million in new transportation commitments for the region because of his leadership.  

    In 2015, with the death by suicide of Robin Williams in the news, Representative Schlossberg shared his own struggles with depression and anxiety in an op-ed in the Morning Call.  His story set forth a very public conversation about mental health and stigma which has become a central focus for Representative Schlossberg.  Since 2015, he has been a keynote speaker at conferences, advanced legislation in the General Assembly and been invited to Washington DC to help Congresswoman Susan Wild’s efforts to enact federal legislation to improve mental health care delivery across the country.  Representative Schlossberg was also appointed to the Mental Health & Justice Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and was named Co-Chair of the Suicide Prevention Task Force by Governor Wolf

    Representative Schlossberg serves on the following informal caucuses: Mental Health (Democratic co-chairman and co-founder), Manufacturing (Democratic co-chairman), Career & Technical Education, Early Childhood Education, LGBT Equality, SAFE (gun safety), Vo-Tech and Women’s Health. 

    Representative Schlossberg is an alumnus of Muhlenberg College (2005, magna cum laude) and Lehigh University.  He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.  Representative Schlossberg’s wife, Brenna Schlossberg, is a teacher in the Allentown School District. They have a son, Auron and a daughter Ayla. The Schlossbergs are homeowners in Allentown. 

    Representative Schlossberg is a board member of the Muhlenberg College Alumni Board, the Muhlenberg College Board of Associates, the Cedar Crest College Board of Associates, the National Association of Jewish Legislators and an honorary ambassador for the “I’m the Evidence” Mental Health Campaign. 

    Representative Schlossberg has received many professional awards, including the 2019 Legislative Leadership Award from the PA Rehabilitation & Community 2017 National Association of Social Workers-PA Legislator of the Year, 2016 “Allies in Action Award” from the American Federation for Suicide Prevention, 2014 Outstanding Young Alumnus Achievement Award from Muhlenberg College, “I’m the Evidence Award” for Mental Health Advocacy, 2009 Downtown Manager of the Year (Pennsylvania Downtown Center), Top 40 Under 40 (American Chamber of Commerce Executives) and Top 20 Under 40 Young Professionals (East Penn Business Journal).  Schlossberg’s work on social media and politics has been featured in publications run by the National Conference of State Legislatures and in Governing Magazine. He also regularly blogs on the topic.  

Selected Videos

Social Determinants of Health – An introduction

Public Health Speakers: Social Determinants of Health

What Is Health Equity, and Why Does It Matter?

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020

PRIOR YEAR CONFERENCE SUMMARIES