Adelphi Launches First-In-US Environmental Justice Program

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GARDEN CITY, NY — This fall, Adelphi University's School of Social Work will launch a new virtual postgraduate certificate in environmental justice for social workers — a first of its kind in the United States.

The certificate program, created and taught by Dr. Kelly Smith, founder of the Institute for Social Work and Environmental Justice, is designed to prepare social workers for the rapidly changing world we live in, including COVID-19, air pollution and climate change. It will incorporate practical and actionable curriculum for social workers by addressing the effects of climate change on the most vulnerable populations.

The course is being offered through the School of Social Work's Office of Continuing Education and Professional Development and was the brainchild of Smith and Renee M. Rawcliffe, director of continuing education and professional development. Prior to coming on board at Adelphi, Rawcliffe worked in disaster response and recovery as a social worker for a large nonprofit organization and saw firsthand the devastating impact climate change had on individuals, families and communities.

"While climate change and environmental justice impact all areas of social work practice, and a majority of surveyed social workers agreed that environmental issues are essential to social work, only 8 percent of those social workers felt their courses adequately covered these issues," said Smith. "Increasing continuing education in this area can spark innovative thinking among social workers as they consider the intersections between practice and policy initiatives and work to solve these wicked problems."

Courses will run on Thursday evenings, from Sept. 17 through Dec. 10, from 7 to 9 p.m. Field instructors and Adelphi alumni will receive a 20 percent discount. Veterans and current students will receive a 35 percent discount.

This article originally appeared on the Garden City Patch

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