2021 Conference on Environmental Justice
Advancing social work’s ethical obligation to address and mitigate climate change.
Credit: 4 CEs
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, or national origin. The populations’ social workers aim to serve are often the most vulnerable and face the worst effects of natural disasters and environmental degradation, requiring meaningful interventions at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of practice and scholarship.
Recognizing many social workers face limited resources, including time, alongside increasing demands amplified by the dual pandemics of racism and COVID-19, this conference will offer dedicated space to grapple with these timely issues. Using a strength-based approach, the conference aims to address social problems by simultaneously advancing environmental and community wellbeing, recognizing their deep interdependence. Accepted proposals will offer actionable, and replicable tools focusing on the many intersections between practice, policy initiatives, and environmental justice.
This event is in partnership with The Institute for Social Work and Environmental Justice.
- Explore barriers to environmental justice across policy and practice and showcase gateways to positive, proactive, and collaborative climate and social action.
- Utilize and comprehend multi-solving solution case studies and planning
- Prepare practice tools to support mental health at the personal and community level amidst a changing environment
- Spark innovative thinking in social workers as they consider the intersections between practice and policy initiatives and environmental justice
- Build community among social workers and other professionals interested in Environmental Justice
- $175 Registration
- Free for Current Students (from any University) with promo code
- Monday, March 20 (Deadline has been extended) – Proposal for Speed Solutions: Apply Here
- Monday, March 1 – Award Nominations for an Environmental Justice Champion: Apply Here
- Friday, April 9 – Student Poster Presentations: Apply Here
Continuing Education Credits
This program has been approved for the following continuing education credits:
- NYSED Social Workers
- NYSED LMHC
- NYSED LMFT
- APA Psychology
- NYSED LCAT
Successful completion for the award of approved continuing education credits requires attendance at entire training/workshop and submission of a completed evaluation form. See full credentialing information and CEUs New York State Office of the Professions (NYSED) regulations require that participants must be present for the entire approved educational activity in order to receive a certificate for continuing education hours. There is no accommodation in the State regulations for late arrival, late return from lunch or breaks, or early departure. According to NYSED, in order to award social work CEs; “When you offer a multi-day or multi-part course/educational activity, the learner must complete all parts in order to earn the certificate for contact hours, in the same way that a student must complete a semester-long course to receive college credit. You may not award partial credit for a program, even a one-day program, if the learner does not complete all requirements at that time.”
Meet The Speakers
Renee M. Rawcliffe, LMSW
Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development, Adelphi School of Social Work
Prior to coming to Adelphi, Renee spent 17 years as a social worker for a large NGO, responding to communities and individuals transformed by disasters, many of them a result of climate change. Through this work, both clinical and administrative in nature, Renee engaged in developing trauma-aware programs and training curriculum for human service providers responding to these events. In September 2019, Renee joined the School of Social Work as the Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development where she has had the pleasure of managing a robust and growing CE program. Renee is also a first-year student in the doctoral program at AUSSW.
Dr. Kelly Smith
Kelly Smith is the founder and director of the Institute for Social Work and Environmental Justice developing programming to build social workers’ capacity to confront environmental challenges related to the climate crisis. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Adelphi University and Columbia’s School of Social Work.
Kelly earned her doctorate in social work from the University of Southern California, where she was honored with The Order of Arête and Phi Alpha Honor Society memberships. She participated as a student representative for the Council for Social Work Education’s Environmental Justice Curricular Guide Task Force.
Currently, Kelly serves on the Grand Challenge for Creating Social Responses to a Changing Environment Advisory Council. Kelly holds a master’s degree in Gender and Social Policy from the London School of Economics and a second master’s degree in secondary education.
AU Welcome Address
Dr. Manoj Pardasani
Dean of Adelphi University School of Social Work
Manoj Pardasani, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., is a Dean and Professor at the School of Social Work. Previously, he served as an Associate Provost (Graduate and Professional Schools) and Professor of Social Work at Hunter College in New York, and a Faculty Research Scholar at the Ravazzin Center for Social Work Research in Aging and Senior Associate Dean at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. He has a Master’s of Social Work degree and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University.
He started his social work career in senior centers and that sparked his lifelong passion for the study of senior centers and community-based services for older adults. He has also served as a social worker, and then as an administrator, in a number of organizations serving the homeless, individuals living with HIV/AIDS and individuals diagnosed with serious and persistent mental illness.
He is passionate about public policy reforms and his current research is utilized to inform his policy advocacy endeavors in the fields of aging and social welfare. He has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles and chapters in professional publications, and has served as a mentor to emerging scholars. His research has garnered over $1 million in grants and has resulted in significant increases in public funding for gerontological social services in New York City and program innovations in senior centers nationwide. At Hunter College, he oversaw approximately $80 million in research and program grants.
In addition to senior centers, Dr. Pardasani has documented the impact of diverse program models among immigrants, refugees and other oppressed groups with reference to HIV/AIDS, chronic mental illness and homelessness. His scholarship, teaching and service have always adopted the lens of social justice and human rights.
He is the recipient of several honors including the Mid-Career Exemplary Social Work Leader Award from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and Fulbright Specialist award. He has taught as a Visiting Professor in China, Germany, Chile and the United Kingdom. He has been invited across the US and to Chile, South Korea, Taiwan and India to share his research on social welfare policies and services for the rapidly aging population worldwide. He is the past chair of the Social Welfare Action Alliance, past president of the Southwestern Social Science Association and the New York State Society on Aging. Currently, he is a 1st Vice President on the NYC Chapter of NASW, as well as a board member of the NY State Society on Aging.
Opening & Closing Meditations
As an authority on engaged learning, Murali Nair combines traditional cross
national value systems with evidence based knowledge in the classroom setting.
Over his 45-year academic career, Murali Nair has served as a BSW,MSW, and DSW professor and administrator at five universities in the United States and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at three overseas universities.
In his last positions, Nair was the Clinical Professor of Social Change and Innovation at University of Southern California (2012-2020) and a Professor and the Director of the School of Social Work at Cleveland State University (1992-2012).
His areas of teaching expertise include macro practice, social enterprise, social responsibility, wellbeing innovation, harnessing technology for social good, advancing long and productive lives, and social responses to changing environments.
Nair has published extensively in the area of social development, including 13 books, nine short documentaries, and over 100 journal articles and peer reviewed paper presentations at national and international conferences. His latest books include Engaged Learning, Leading and Managing Human Service Organizations (4th edition), and Evidence Based Macro Social Work Practice (2nd edition). He is a CSWE member of the Special Commission to Advance Macro Practice and an Associate Editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Macro Social Work.
Mini session: Self Care
Jenna Rines is a social worker, researcher, and Social Work Health Futures fellow. She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Toronto. Jenna believes in the importance of interprofessional collaboration to drive climate change innovation, and is interested in the intersection of environmental justice, patient engagement, and planetary health. Jenna is pleased to be an ISWEJ collaborator and content coordinator.
Georgianna is a NY Licensed Master Social Worker and systems thinker who brings history as a researcher, editor/writer, social media coordinator, adjunct professor, and community development specialist to her Environmental Justice Social Work. Georgianna is passionate about climate change prevention and empowering community change agents to address climate and environmental concerns through the utilization of community advocacy and mobilization, social media, education, and policy work. Current affiliations: Institute For Social Work and Environmental Justice, International Association of Social Work with Groups, Long Island Prevention Resource Center, and multiple universities.
Advancing Meaningful Solutions
Multisolving – Climate Interactive
Cassandra Breeze Ceballos serves as Program Associate for Climate Interactive’s Multisolving program. Multisolving emphasizes thoughtful climate solutions that give rise to multiple benefits in health, resilience, and well-being, while also ensuring more equitable distribution of those benefits. Cassandra provides research, communications, and administrative support.
Cassandra attended the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia on a full merit scholarship. A proud first-generation college student, Cassandra graduated in 2017 with a dual-major in Economics and Sociology. Prior to joining Climate Interactive, Cassandra worked to increase representation of young adults of color within conservation corps through The Corps Network’s Moving Forward Initiative before transitioning to serve as a Crew Leader for opportunity youth at the Montgomery County Conservation Corps.
Born and raised on the island of St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, Cassandra is passionate about advocating for justice and equity within and across the environmental field. Cassandra lives with a cat, Nutmeg, in Richmond, Virginia, and enjoys local music, reading, cooking, and visiting family on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.
Collaboration and Current Efforts in the Social Work Community
Dr. Meredith Powers
Dr. Meredith C.F. Powers (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at UNC Greensboro. She has served as a Sustainability Faculty Fellow, is the Social Work faculty liaison for the International Programs Center and serves on the School of Health and Human Science’s committee for internationalizing the curriculum. She has co-authored and co-edited a growing body of work on climate justice and the Eco-Social worldview. She has presented her research nationally and internationally, at professional conferences, including being invited as a keynote speaker at the United Nations for World Social Work Day (2018). She is the Founder and Director of the International Federation of Social Workers “Climate Justice Program.” She also established and co administers the global “Green / Environmental Social Work Collaborative Network.” Nationally, Dr. Powers serves as a member of the “Environmental Justice Committee” for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the Grand Challenges for Social Work committee, “Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment.”
The University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work Panel Discussion
Environmental Justice across Social Work Practice
Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason
Dr. Lisa Reyes Mason is a social worker, scholar, and advocate for climate justice. Through engaged and collaborative research, she has studied urban water insecurity in the Philippines, weather extremes and health in the Southeastern U.S., and social aspects of green infrastructure in diverse U.S. communities.
An Associate Professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, Dr. Mason is passionate about teaching, writing, and speaking out about the nexus of social work, the climate crisis, and policy change. Dr. Mason co-edited the book People and Climate Change: Vulnerability, Adaptation, and Social Justice. She also co-leads the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare’s Grand Challenge to “Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment.”
Dr. Mason received her PhD and MSW from Washington University in St. Louis, and her BA from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in Guinea, West Africa, from 1998-2000.
Dr. Christine Lynn Norton, PhD.
Dr. Christine Lynn Norton, PhD, LCSW-S, is a Professor of Social Work at Texas State University. She received her PhD in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. She has a MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, and a MS in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University-Mankato. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, a Certified Experiential Therapist, a Certified Clinical Adventure Therapist. Christine has over 30 years of experience as a social worker and outdoor experiential educator. Christine is a Research Scientist with the Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Center and is a 2017 Fulbright Scholar, having taught adventure therapy at National Taiwan Normal University.
Dr. Regardt (Reggie) Ferreira, Ph.D.
Dr. Regardt (Reggie) Ferreira, Ph.D. is the Director of the Tulane University’s Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy and Associate Professor of Social Work at the Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. He currently serves as the editor for the American Psychological Association Traumatology journal, focused on resilience practices amongst traumatized individuals, families and communities. He received his undergraduate degree in Social Work and master degree in Disaster Risk Management at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and his Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Kentucky. He joined the Tulane University faculty in 2013 where he divides his time between administration, applied research, program development, community work, and teaching activities. His main research interest is at the intersection of disaster, mental health and resilience; with work conducted in Europe, Africa, North America, the Caribbean and South Asia. Over the past two decades, he has been involved with several projects focused on disaster risk reduction and fostering resilience with projects totaling over $25 million in federal and foundation funding. Dr. Ferreira’s work in the classroom has been recognized with several teaching awards for his innovative approaches to teaching. His interdisciplinary work includes over 100 published journal articles, chapters, and scientific abstracts on a variety of trauma and resilience topics, and his work most recently has featured in popular media outlets such as CNN, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, HBO/VICE, Fox News, Fox, NBC, ABC, Reuters, Medscape, Futurity, NPR, ScienceDaily and USA Today. Reggie hails originally from Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Dr. Anne Deepak, PhD.
Dr. Anne Deepak, PhD. is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Monmouth University in New Jersey and coordinates the Global and Community Practice (GCP) Masters concentration. She represents the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) at the United Nations with the IFSW-UN NY team. In this role, she collaboratively developed a presentation on practice and education towards environment and climate action held at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Learning, Practice and Education Sessions. Her scholarly work has been centered on developing and applying a postcolonial feminist social work perspective to food security, human trafficking, humanitarian initiatives for women’s economic empowerment, social work practice with refugees and immigrants, and sustainability and population growth. Her other interests are in globalization and international partnerships and diversity and anti-racism in social work education. She serves on the Monmouth University Advisory Council to the Institute for Global Understanding and is an affiliated faculty member to the Program in Intersectionality and Gender Studies. She recently joined the Board of Pacific Bamboo Resources, an organization that cultivates economic activities that restore the health of our natural and built environments and, in turn, create resilient, sustainable communities across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.
Dr. Michael Yellow Bird
Michael Yellow Bird is a Professor of Sociology and the Director of Tribal and Indigenous Peoples Studies at North Dakota State University. He is an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara tribes from North Dakota. His academic work and research focus on Indigenous Peoples; the effects of genetic and epigenetic expression on Indigenous Peoples well-being; the effects of an ancestral lifestyle, including a focus on the Indigenous microbiome, diet, and fasting; the effects of colonization and methods of decolonization; decolonizing mindfulness; and the culture and science of neurodecolonization. He has been active in re-introducing the practice of mindfulness to Native American and Indigenous communities around the world, as well as presenting on the neurobiology of traditional Indigenous contemplative practices. He has been invited to present and give keynotes at numerous mindfulness conferences, both live and online and has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for over 40 years.
In 1975, Michael’s introduction to mindfulness and meditation was by way of his first Tae Kwon Do teacher, Master Sonil Choi. Master Choi emphasized strict discipline of mind and body and that the way of practice, life, and the warrior depended upon mushin (“a mind unconscious of itself that is not disturbed by effects of any kind”). Dr. Yellow Bird was a Tae Kwon Do practitioner and instructor for many years and taught many of his students mushin meditation. Since the 1990s, he has been introducing mindfulness and meditation approaches to his undergraduate and graduate social work students. He has taught mindfulness to veterans, social workers, incarcerated populations, teachers and students, parents, nurses and nursing students, tribal leaders and community members, and tribal college students, faculty, and administrators. He has implemented mindfulness programs, and examined their effects, on Native American students at the Early College of the Redwoods (KRECR) school on the Yurok reservation in Klamath, California and at the Circle of Life Academy (COLA) on White Earth Ojibway reservation in Minnesota. He is one of three individuals being featured in an upcoming documentary called, “Mindfulness in Indian Country.”
Student Poster Slideshow
Speed Sessions – 5 minute Speed Session Presentations
Dr. Kishi Animashaun Ducre
A scholar-activist, Professor Kishi Animashaun Ducre has been a faculty member in the Department of African American Studies since 2005. Before coming to A&S, she was an advocate for environmental justice for over two decades, including as a campaigner for Greenpeace.
Ducre combines experience born of the front lines of the environmental justice movement with academic training in geographic information systems and demography for a unique and gendered perspective on economic and environmental inequality.
She has taught courses such as:
U.S. Racial Residential Segregation
Hurricane Katrina: Race, Class, Gender &
African American Foodways
Ducre has written and co-edited books
about justice and curated photography
exhibitions based upon community-based
arts research known as Photovoice, a
qualitative methodology used in her book,
“A Place We Call Home: Race, Gender,
and Justice in Syracuse” (SU Press, 2012).
Her teaching philosophy is based on Paulo Freire’s concept of liberatory pedagogy—knowledge as a form of empowerment.
Ducre was named Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion by Dean Karin Ruhlandt in 2018.
No refund can be made for cancellation seven or fewer working days before the onset of the postgraduate certificate program. Cancellations occurring more than seven working days before the onset of the program will result in a refund less the amount of the deposit. Requests for refunds must be received in writing.
Disclaimer: The University reserves the right to cancel this or any program due to insufficient enrollment. Registrants will be notified and full refunds will be issued.
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