The 28th Annual National Conference on Social Work and HIV/AIDS will be held in Minneapolis on May 26-29. Dr. Vince Lynch founded this Conference in 1988 and this year's event will be the last one he organizes and chairs before retiring in early 2017. Dr. Russell "Rusty" Bennett will succeed him as Chair. The Conference has been based administratively at the Boston College School of Social Work. To date, they've had over 12,000 participants and have offered over 3,000 presentations. Over the years they’ve also secured over $1.2 million in external funding to support the project. Get more information here .We spoke to Dr. Lynch, Conference Founder and Chair, and Dr. Bennett, Conference Co-Chair, about the history of this conference and how social media may be integrated into upcoming conferences.
What is the role of digital media and social work with respect to HIV care?Dr. Lynch: Social workers continue to be the largest professional group providing psychosocial services to those infected and affected by HIV. Today is a changing time for social work. Now we’re in a digital media climate. It is my parting wish that the Conference will move with the times to incorporate digital media as part of how we communicate about HIV.
I believe that social media has an important place in helping our field more effectively reach those we are trying to serve. This sentiment is shared by the Conference's incoming chair, Dr. Rusty Bennett, CEO of Collaborative Solutions, Inc., based in Birmingham, AL.
What are your thoughts about incorporating social media into future conferences?Dr. Bennett: To effectively incorporate social media into our Conference, we as the organizers need input from people in the HIV community who may attend this year’s conference or have attended in the past. We know many social workers have interest and experience in using social media to serve clients and inform professional practice. Please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to share how you are using digital platforms like Facebook and Twitter in your work.
HIV.gov appreciates Vince and Rusty for their valuable work in the ongoing development of this important Conference and offers them best wishes in their future endeavors. For more details about this year’s conference, please visit the conference web page.And don’t forget to sign up for HIV.gov’s Virtual Office Hours - a free social media technical assistance resource – open to social workers and anyone in the HIV community.