Cal U to Host National Social Work Conference

Jun 14, 2021

The 46th National Institute on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas will be held virtually from July 14-16.

social work logo

Students in Cal U's Screen Printing Association designed the logo for the conference. 

California University of Pennsylvania will host the 46th National Institute on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas from July 14-16. The theme of the virtual event organized by the National Rural Social Work Caucus is “Contemporary Challenges in Rural and Small-Town Industrial Communities.”

Registration is $35, and continuing education credits will be offered. For more information about the conference and registration details, visit

The annual conference is hosted by a different college or university each year to “showcase the diversity of rural America and to provide social workers in rural areas with access to a substantial professional activity that might not otherwise be available to them.” 

Dr. Stephen Cooper, a professor and associate director of research at Stephen F. Austin State University, will deliver the keynote address from 6:30-8:15 p.m. July 14. Other workshop topics include “Providing Affirming Care: Assisting LGBTQ+ Folk Living in Rural Areas” and “The Last Mile: COVID-19, Telehealth, and Broadband Disparities in Rural Indiana.”

“It can be an eye-opening experience to attend a national conference and learn about different communities and what they face,” said Dr. Sheri Boyle, a professor of social work at Cal U who is helping to organize the event.

“It will be a huge benefit to social workers in our community, and because it is being held virtually this year, we can reach an even wider audience.”

Cal U offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

“Our M.S.W. program has historically had a rural focus, so it is appropriate for us to take this on,” Boyle said of the virtual conference.

Cal U ‘s social work and counselor education programs have received a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants of more than $3.2 million.

The HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program aims to increase the behavioral health workforce in rural and/or medically underserved communities.