OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Department of Social Work is hosting a conference with a goal of educating social work professionals and students on cultural competency and ethical issues. “Understanding Competency and Ethics,” set for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. March 9 in the Student Union, will address a range of topics including spirituality issues in social work, international social work and caregiving for elders.
“This conference highlights the Department of Social Work’s celebration of Social Work Month,” said Debra Moore, chair of the department. “The faculty of the Department of Social Work has put together a conference that should have several breakout workshops of interest for the attendees. It is our way of providing social workers, other professionals, and students with a variety of cultural and ethical topics to challenge and hopefully enhance their current level of practice. It is our hope that conference attendees will add to their professional knowledge base, enhance their professional skills set, and develop and increased awareness of the interaction between personal, cultural and professional values.” Samuel “Billy” Kyles, civil rights leader and pastor of Monumental Baptist Church in Memphis, will deliver the keynote address. Kyles has maintained his involvement with civil rights work since the 1960s and worked on Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaigns. He is a recipient of the Tennessee Living Legend Award. “This should be an exciting and dynamic conference covering a range of topics, which really addresses more disciplines than social work,” said E. Ann Moore, assistant professor of social work. “We would encourage any health professional to attend, as well as folks in the community who find the topics relevant.” The conference will close with a hands-on session with Chris Simmons, assistant professor of social work. The session will serve to increase cultural diversity awareness among participants. “Social workers and all participants will find a breath of topics to choose from that address both ethics and diversity issues with different populations,” said Jo Ann O’Quin, professor of social work. “I am looking forward to the closing session with Dr. Chris Simmons that promises to be an enlightening hands-on program that will promote our own individual self-awareness about diversity.” Moore hopes that those in attendance will learn a lot about the discussed issues. “We hope people will leave the conference with a greater understanding for the very diverse culture in which we live,” Moore said. “We also hope individuals will leave appreciating how this diversity enriches our environment in a whole host of different manners.” Individuals who wish to attend the conference can pre-register or pay at the door. The registration fee is $80. For more information or to pre-register, contact Moore at 662-915-7336.