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June 2020 Connect with us Facebook Twitter Sign up  |  Archive  |  Advertise
Editor's e-Note
The last few months have been like none other in our history. First, a pandemic forced most of the world into lockdown. Then, the brutal murder of George Floyd led to unprecedented global demonstrations for racial justice.

Social Work Today supports the Black Lives Matter protestors and—in the tradition of all social workers since the beginning of the profession—the fight for racial justice and the dismantling of structural and systemic racism in all settings, from criminal justice and health care to education and beyond.

This month’s E-News Exclusive was planned months ago to address another underserved population: LGBTQ individuals. But I wanted to take this opportunity to express our support for the voices of justice calling out to be heard in the wake of Floyd’s death and the deaths of countless other people of color by law enforcement. Hopefully, this time it will be different and the pain of so many will bring change.

Social Work Today also applauds the recent landmark Supreme Court's decision on protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals in the workplace. The fight isn’t over. There is still work to be done, but this decision is a beacon of hope in achieving equality for all.

Establishing a therapy practice is a challenging undertaking for any clinician. Getting to know the needs of the individuals and families in the community in which one practices is essential. One of many groups that have been misperceived, LGBTQ people have become the target of discrimination, dismissal, and, at worst, violence. To become truly affirming practice, any practitioner who strives to be inclusive must pay attention to the details, from language to lifelong learning, of the needs of LGBTQ people.

We welcome your comments at Visit our website at, like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter.

— Marianne Mallon, editor
e-News Exclusive
Building an LGBTQ-Affirming Practice
By Sue Coyle, MSW

Delivering services that are effective and beneficial requires clinicians and practices as a whole to be genuinely inclusive and knowledgeable about the individuals and communities they serve. This is particularly true for those who work with individuals who identify as a part of the LGBTQ community.

“LGBTQ individuals face unique concerns and challenges when it comes to seeking services and connecting with their providers,” says R. Lane Forsman, PhD, LMSW, an assistant professor in the department of social work at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“Because of the narrative in society that many LGBTQ people experience telling them that their status as a member of the community decreases their self-worth or excuses their experiences of discrimination and trauma, it is vitally important that LGBTQ persons seeking assistance from a social worker know that their identity is welcome in that space and considered as a valid and integral part of how they understand the world,” he says.

Social workers who serve the LGBTQ community must put effort into creating a practice that welcomes not only the community but the individuals within it as well.

Common Missteps
The first step in building an inclusive practice is recognizing the assumptions and mistakes many make. For example, it is not uncommon for clinicians to say they are LGBTQ affirming without putting in the effort it takes to actually be affirming. This is not necessarily due to carelessness but rather a lack of recognition about one’s own shortcomings.

Full story »
Tech & Tools
Electronic Health Records Fail to Detect Up to 33% of Medication Errors

Despite improvements in their performance over the past decade, electronic health records (EHRs) commonly used in hospitals nationwide fail to detect up to 1 in 3 potentially harmful drug interactions and other medication errors, according to scientists at University of Utah Health, Harvard University, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. In tests using simulated medical records, the researchers found that EHR systems consistently failed to detect errors that could injure or kill patients.

“EHRs are supposed to ensure safe use of medications in hospitals,” says David C. Classen, MD, the study’s corresponding author and a professor of internal medicine at University of Utah Health. “But they’re not doing that. In any other industry, this degree of software failure wouldn’t be tolerated. You would never get on an airplane, for instance, if an airline could only promise it could get you to your destination safely two-thirds of the time.”

The study appears in the May 29 issue of JAMA Network Open.

Read more »
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Ruling on LGBTQ Rights Reveals Precarious Nature of Supreme Court's Conservative Majority
The Supreme Court's landmark decision to ban employment discrimination against LGBTQ individuals shows a surprising departure for the conservative majority court,
reports USA Today.

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Nationwide protests against racism and police brutality have resulted in changes in policy, shifts in public opinion, and more, according to Vox.

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