September/October 2020

Hello! It is my pleasure to have joined the RI Chapter as the Interim Executive Director at the end of August. I am continuing to serve as executive director of the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW and I hope to find ways for the Massachusetts and Rhode Island chapters to support each other and share the best of what each chapter has to offer to social workers in both states. In my interim role, my goal is to learn from you about how the RI Chapter can best support you and to help grow the chapter to make our work together as useful, relevant, and effective as possible.

In collaboration with board president, Lauren Yabot, we have named the new RI Chapter e-news, Social Workers Champions for Hope. We think this fits for who social workers are especially in the world we find ourselves in today. And of course, hope is a central idea in RI, as we see on the state flag. In the e-news you will find information relevant to your practice, to the profession, and to issues of social, economic, and racial justice that are core to our work. Please reach out to me or to Angie Almeida, Deputy Director, about issues or ideas you think are important to include in future issues!

We are so glad to be able to offer NASW-Massachusetts chapter virtual programming to Rhode Island chapter members this fall at the reduced rate of $15 for 1.5 CEs. Feel free to sign up today for the over 20 CEUs available to you this fall on everything from the power of shame, to providing gender affirming clinical care, to Latinx health disparities. See full details below or by visiting

Please be in touch with me anytime! I am really looking forward to getting to work with you.

In solidarity,

Rebekah Gewirtz
Interim Executive Director, NASW-RI Chapter
Executive Director, NASW-MA Chapter
  • Engaging Members
  • Continuing Education & Events
  • Social Work Action Center
  • Clinical and Private Practice
  • Licensing Test Prep
  • National News
Advocacy, Programs, Networking and Connection
In the weeks ahead we will be working with the NASW-RI board of directors to map out plans for the year ahead. Some of the core areas of focus will include advocacy, programs, and networking and connection, including student engagement. If you'd like to get involved in our work in any of these areas, please be in touch with Rebekah or Angie and we can plug you in!
We know a primary reason social workers join NASW is for effective advocacy on the state and federal level for social work professional issues and for crucial issues of social, economic, and racial justice.

Our goal is to build on the advocacy work that has been done by the RI chapter over the years and hone in on legislation important to social workers today. To that end, we would like to bring together a committee that would focus on legislation and policy priorities. Does this interest you? If so, please send an email to Angie with the subject "advocacy committee" and we will be in touch about next steps.
An important goal of the chapter is to help you meet your CE needs and programming interests with relevant and timely virtual programs this fall and into the year ahead. Below, in this e-news, is a listing of fall programs with registration links included.

In addition, we will be working on RI specific programs around aging, school social work, ethics, and more. Stay tuned and please be in touch with your programming ideas!
Networking and Connection
Right now it's hard to connect in person in the midst of the pandemic. We will be working in the months ahead to better activate our committees around issues of interest to you. The RI Chapter has a newly activated Go-To Meeting account that will allow committees and groups to meet together virtually.

In the month ahead, we plan to launch a new member benefit: a private practice listserve for NASW-RI members. Through this, you would be able to share pressing issues you are experiencing in your practice and get connected to other social workers in the state. Are you interested in joining this list? If so, please send an email and let us know!
The Power of Shame
Earn 1.5 CEUs
Shame is a common sequelae to trauma and often an underlying cause of behaviors that bring people to the attention of helping professionals. This workshop will explore the role shame plays in such behaviors, and cover implications for treatment approaches, and challenges to countertransference management.

Presented by Lynn Sanford, LICSW, Author of Strong at the Broken Places: Building Resiliency in Survivors of Trauma 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm

The Art of Diagnosis
Earn 1.5 CEUs
Although a large component of the daily work of social workers is to diagnose psychiatric illnesses, there is little education on how to do that well. This training teaches how to differentially diagnose using specific questions and provides distinct tools that clinicians can use in clinical sessions.

Presented by Jennifer Berton, PhD, LICSW, CADC-II, Founder and Principal Clinician, The Rose Center for Learning 

Thursday, September 17, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm

Let’s Get Physical: The Science of Sexuality and Aging
Earn 3 CEUs
Jane Fleishman, PhD, MEd, MS, is an AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator. She is on a mission to promote the sexual well-being of older adults in senior living communities as an educator, writer, researcher, podcaster, and blogger. She co-hosts a podcast, with Dr. Rosara Torrisi. She trains staff on sexuality and aging in assisted living communities, senior centers, gerontology, and hospice conferences. She works at the intersection of age, sex, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and class. She believes that sexuality is a human right especially for older adults. Given the societal taboos about discussing sexuality especially when it centers on older adults, this breakout session will offer clinicians a unique opportunity to apply current research and resources to their clinical and administrative practice with older adults. The focus of this highly-interactive breakout session is on improving clinicians’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes around sexuality in their work with an aging population.
This event was planned and organized by NASW-MA's Central Regional Council.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
9:00 am - 12:15 pm
Misery or Mastery (TM): How to Write an Insurance Friendly and Clinically Relevant Treatment Plan 
Earn 1.5 CEUs
Translate your intuition into logical and insurance friendly documentation. Protect your income. Avoid legal nightmares. Learn to implement The Golden Thread to justify medical necessity.

Presented by Beth Rontal, LICSW, Founder and Trainer, Documentation Wizard 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm

Providing Gender-Affirming Clinical Care: An Introductory Course 
Earn 1.5 CEUs
Providing Gender-Affirming Clinical Care supports therapists with gender diverse clients to provide sensitive, relevant, and insightful counseling and/or medical treatment referrals.

Presented by Dr. Ruben Hopwood, MDiv, PhD, Director, Hopwood Counseling & Consulting, LLC 

Thursday, September 24, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm

Wired to Connect: The Surprising Link Between Brain Science and Strong, Healthy Relationships
Earn 1.5 CEUs
This workshop will provide an update on the neuroscience of human relationships and will offer concrete strategies to help clinicians work with clients to build stronger neural pathways for connection leading to more rewarding relationships.

Presented by Amy Banks, MD, Author of Wired to Connect:
The Surprising Link Between Brain Science and Strong, Healthy Relationships 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm

Suitcase Stories: Amplifying Immigrant and Refugee Voices 
Earn 1.5 CEUs
Suitcase Stories® is a signature program of the International Institute of New England that raises the profile of refugees and immigrants while fostering community through the art of storytelling. In this session featuring live performances by guest storytellers, explore how the stories we tell about immigrant and refugee experiences influence how others view their neighbors, and the world.

Presented by Cheryl Hamilton, Director, Suitcase Stories, International Institute of New England 

Thursday, October 1, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm

School Social Work Conference (Massachusetts)
School Social Work Under Pandemic Conditions: Navigating Our Roles
Earn 5.5 CEUs!

Online registration is open for our Annual School Social Work Conference. Join us virtually on Friday, October 9, 8:00am - 3:00pm.

The keynote panel from the BRYT Program (Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition) will explore challenges and address opportunities and strategies for social workers working in school settings at the start of this challenging 2020-21 school year.

Some of the workshops include:
  • Mental Health and Equity in the 2020-21 School Year: Digging Deeper
  • Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems
  • Brain Development and Social-Emotional Learning
  • ... and more!
Special thank you to our Social Work Champion Sponsors!
Hillcrest Educational Centers - provides trauma informed residential and say programming for youth with complex psychiatric, behavioral and/or developmental disorders, including autism, and a variety of high risk behaviors.
Social Workers as Advocates for Justice in the Criminal "Justice” System (Massachusetts focus but all are welcome)
Earn 1.5 CEUs
From police arrest to mass incarceration, this seminar will review the inequities of our criminal justice system and the most effective ways for social workers to advocate for their individual clients as well as for systemic change. Additional information will also be provided on opportunities for social workers to be hired by defense attorneys to work on behalf of their clients.
Presented by Norma Wassel, Director of the Social Services Advocates for the Public Defender Division at the Committee for Public Counsel Services

Monday, October 19, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Latinx Health Disparities: The Covid Effect
Earn 1.5 CEUs
Description coming
Presented by Yvonne Ruiz, PhD, LICSW, Associate Professor, Salem State University School of Social Work

Thursday, October 29, 2020
12:00 - 1:30 pm
Online Continuing Education Available 24/7 through the CE Institute
Hundreds of web-based continuing education offerings are available to social workers for free or low-cost on NASW's Online CE Institute, including many of the webinars related to COVID-19 that NASW-MA offered earlier this year.
Question for our members: If NASW-RI were to launch a Private Practice Google Group would that interest you?
A Private Practice Google Group would be an exclusive member benefit powered by social work colleagues from across the state and NASW-RI. By signing up you'd receive timely updates from your colleagues about ethics, billing and insurance, and other private practice issues. You could also pose your own questions to the group to crowd source answers from colleagues. NASW-RI would also potentially use this platform to send important clinical alerts to members.

Let us know your feedback by sending an email to Angie: [email protected] with "Private Practice Google Group" in the subject line.
Licensing Information for RI Social Workers
You may have questions about how Covid-19 impacts your practice. For more on this go to the RI health department page linked here

  • For licensing information go here. Information for providers is linked on the upper left hand side.

  • Changes that may have occurred re: CEU requirements are all listed at this link.

For any additional information needed, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]. We hope to start providing more timely practice information on our website and through social media.
HHS Will Extend the Public Health Emergency Period
Per a tweet sent by HHS spokesman Michael Caputo, HHS intends to extend the public health emergency (PHE) period by 90 days. The current expiration date was July 25. The new expiration date is October 25. As you know, the telehealth flexibilities under Medicare are attached to this federal PHE. This will be the second extension the agency has provided.
Hopefully, commercial and self-funded plans will also extend their telehealth flexibility period. NASW is reaching out to them to advocate for telehealth permanence. Note that some plans stopped paying for out-of-network telehealth already.
Finally, at least one bill has been introduced in Congress to enable interstate practice flexibility. This would apply to numerous types of clinicians, in addition to clinical social workers. We will provide more information about that soon, including advocacy plans around these bills.
COVID-19: Practice Guidelines for Reopening Social Work Practices
In May, National NASW released details guidelines for reopening social work practices. See the guidelines here.

Legislative Session Extended and Call for Policy Committee Members
The 2020 legislative session, which was scheduled to end on June 30th, has been extended until the end of the year due to Covid-19 This extension gives the legislature time to iron out an FY21 state budget and hopefully advance other bills that are important to social workers in their practice and issues of social, economic, and racial justice.

We know of one campaign going on now to extend the yearly children's clothing allowance to infants and toddlers. For more on this campaign or information on outreach to your legislators please be in touch with Rebekah.

Here is a listing from the Economic Progress Institute of campaigns going on now to lift up all RI families:

Are you interested in joining a new NASW-RI policy and advocacy committee to determine priority bills for NASW-RI on social work practice issues and social justice? Please email Rebekah or Angie if so with the subject line "policy committee".
Are You Ready to Vote?
NASW-RI PACE, our political arm, endorses social workers and candidates running for office that support social work values.

Are there candidates you would like to see NASW-RI PACE endorse? Please be in touch with us and let us know!

Register to vote in the November 3rd General Election by October 4th. Deadline to submit mail in ballot application is October 13th. For a full list of important deadlines check out this link.
On-Line Licensing Test Prep Course Available Now
NASW-MA hosts Licensing Test Prep courses each month. We have moved our courses online and we are offering them to RI Chapter members at the same reduced price available to MA Chapter members.

Upcoming courses include:
  • September 19 | VIRTUAL
  • November 20 | VIRTUAL
  • December 5 | VIRTUAL

Be in touch with Michael LaBerge for more information or to sign up at [email protected].
NASW Demands End to Excessive Use of Force by Law Enforcement
From national NASW's statement:
In the wake of the senseless shootings of both Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and Trayford Pellerin in Lafayette, Louisiana, it is clear to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) that Congress must immediately pass legislation that implements national use of force standards by police. NASW also calls on Congress to mandate that all law enforcement agencies follow those standards. Read more.
Social Workers Must Help Dismantle Systems of Oppression and Fight Racism Within Social Work Profession
Like our nation, the history of social work is complicated. Racism and white supremacy are ingrained within American institutions and systems and have therefore affected social work ideology and practice for generations.

The mission of social work is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, with particular attention to those who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. We cannot maximize this mission and fully actualize our core professional values without advocating to reform, dismantle, or even abolish the racist and oppressive systems we may work within and beside. Read more.