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News & Press: NASW-Michigan News

Annual Conference Spotlights Social Work’s Role with Veterans and Military Families

Friday, October 18, 2019   (0 Comments)
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From September 26-28 social workers from across the state gathered at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center for the return of the NASW-Michigan Annual Conference. This year’s event placed a special focus on social work practice when working with veterans, military members, and their families. That focus kicked off on Thursday with a motivational address by a panel of social work veterans, followed by a powerful story from a caregiver as part of the Wounded Warrior Project.


Friday began with an amazingly soulful performance of the National Anthem, followed by and inspiring address from Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch (pictured above with NASW-Michigan Region 1 Representative Judy Krause, Executive Director Maxine Thome, and past national NASW Board Member At-Large Guadalupe Lara). Consuelo is an author, motivational speaker, and was the highest-ranking Hispanic woman in the Combat Support Field of the U.S. Army. Over the course of the rest of the day attendees were able to choose from over 20 workshops, with topics ranging from trauma and neuroscience, to gender transitioning, to understanding PTSD, to public policy advocacy.


Discussing his journey from addict to U.S. Olympic coach, Tony Hoffman opened Saturday’s conference with a call for more social workers across the United States, especially in the area of substance use. Pictured with Tony on the cover are NASW/Conference Planning Committee members Sean, Kevin, Kendra and Tiyanna. These four amazing social workers were also fantastic representatives from the Battle Creek VA Medical Center over the entire conference. Saturday’s program also featured workshops on topics ranging from canine assisted social work, to teaching ethics, to preventing Veteran suicide, to social entrepreneurship.


To watch videos of both Consuelo and Tony’s keynote addresses visit the NASW-Michigan facebook page at


A special thanks the conference planning committees, all of the conference volunteers, and to this year’s conference sponsors:

The next conference will be in April of 2021 at the Kellogg Center in Lansing. Be on the lookout for the confirmed date and more information soon. 



Carolyn Sutherby, ABD, LMSW, ACSW presents to a packed house on ‘Mamas & Traumas: Working With Mothers Who Have Survived Trauma’


Social workers and panelists Kevin, Sean, and Brian from the Wounded Warrior Project kicked off this years event at the Holiday Inn - Battle Creek


Conference presenters and NASW-Michigan Board Members Mary Skene and Sara Bazydlo hang out at the registration table between sessions


Tiffany Russell and Marian Tripplet explore the emerging area of library social work


NASW-Michigan Vice President of Social Policy Edward D’Angelo encourages social workers to get engaged and involved in the upcoming elections, specifically with MPACE and getting social workers elected to office.


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