Key contributors


Ruth Allen (Dr)

Chief Executive, BASW (British Association of Social Workers)

Prior to her role as BASW Chief Executive Dr Allen served as the Director of Social Work at South West London and St Georges’ Mental Health NHS Trust (2007-2016), as the Head of Social Care for Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Trust (2004-2007) and as Integration Manager for Tower Hamlets and the local Health Trust (2002-2004). Her career to date demonstrates values-based leadership in social work and social care with a commitment to transforming social work practice at both a national and local level.

Dr Allen’s ongoing dedication to social work practice has led her to co-chair the Practice Advisory Group to the Chief Social Worker for Adults (for the continuation of the work of the mental health and adults faculties of The College of Social Work), to chair the Social Care Strategic Network for Mental Health and to be the co-developer and facilitator for the Excellence in Social Work Leadership programme, alongside being a recognised author in social work and a practice development consultant.
Dr Allen holds a Master’s degree in Social Work, with distinction, from the University of Sussex and a Professional Doctorate in Education, also awarded by the University of Sussex. She is also actively involved in current social work research through her research fellowship with St George’s University.

Paul Bywaters

Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield

Paul Bywaters is Professor of Social Work at the University of Huddersfield. He has been a social work academic for over 30 years and before that was a practicing social worker in Birmingham, England in the 1970s. The main focus of his research and publications has been the relationship between social inequalities and different aspects of social work. In 2004, he co-founded the international Social Work and Health Inequalities Network which has over 400 members in more than 25 countries. As first convenor of the Network he led work to revise the health policy of the International Federation of Social Workers. Following retirement from full time work he has led a series of major research projects on child welfare inequalities funded by the Nuffield Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, applying health inequalities perspectives to this central area of social work practice.

Cecilia Lai Wan CHAN

Si Yuan Chair Professor of Social Work and Health, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong

Professor Cecilia Chan is a world leader in health and social work. She advocated for a strength-oriented empowerment approach in working with traumatized individuals such as cancer patients, women of divorce, bereaved persons, couples with fertility issues, and victims of disaster. She adopted vigorous bio-psycho-social outcome indicators in her randomized trials on measuring impact of her innovative Integrative Body-Mind-Spirit (IBMS) interventions on different population groups. Her IBMS intervention can be found in this video: Her multi-disciplinary team used salivary cortisol (stress) and telomerase (anti-aging) as physiological impact of psycho-social-spiritual intervention by social workers. Her creative synergy of Chinese philosophies and qigong exercises into holistic behavioral health intervention is ground breaking. Her integrative meaning-making empowerment strategies effectively nurture spirituality of forgiveness, gratitude, hope, and optimism, which are fundamental to resilience and transformation. Her leadership in health social work is recognized by her many international awards and local recognitions.

Tileah Drahm-Butler

Teacher of Narrative Therapy and Community Work, Dulwich Centre International Teaching Faculty

Tileah Drahm-Butler (she/her) is an Aboriginal woman of the Darumbal and Yidinji nations of Queensland, Australia and lives in Kuranda, North Queensland. Tileah graduated as a Social Worker from James Cook University in Cairns in 2003 and also with a Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work in 2014 through the University of Melbourne. Tileah works in an Emergency Department of a busy regional hospital and is on the Dulwich Centre International Teaching Faculty where she leads the teaching of Narrative Therapy and Community Work through an Aboriginal lens in Australia and internationally. In 2019, Tileah will also take up a position at Dulwich Centre of Chair of Feminisms, Intersectionality and Narrative Practice.

Irwin Epstein, PhD, MSW

Professor Emeritus at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York

Irwin Epstein, PhD, MSW, is Professor Emeritus at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York. Prior to retirement, he held the Helen C. Rehr Chair of Applied Social Work Research (Health & Mental Health) and was Adjunct Professor at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. He has conducted practice-based research workshops and mentored PhD students from Australia to Zealand (New). Author of arguably too many papers, his latest (and best) book is Clinical Data-Mining: Integrating Practice and Research, (Oxford University Press), which has recently been translated into Chinese though he can’t read it and worries about the jokes. In 2014, he Chaired the 3rd International Conference on Practice Research in New York City. He helped plan the 1st International Conference on Social Work Practice in Health and Mental Health in Jerusalem in 1994 and is delighted to attend the 9th in York, vertically speaking.

Dr Aarti Jagannathan

Associate Professor of Psychiatric Social Work associated with the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, NIMHANS Bangalore, India

Dr Aarti Jagannathan, is a MA, M.Phil and PhD in Psychiatric Social Work from National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. She is currently an Associate Professor of Psychiatric Social Work associated with the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, NIMHANS Bangalore, India. Her areas of interest include Rehabilitation of persons with psychiatric disorders (including supported employment, supported education, facilitation of welfare benefits, community based rehabilitation), Human rights of mentally ill, Yoga for mental health, Caregiver interventions. She has 50+ scientific publications (peer-reviewed international journals, national journals, chapters in books) and helms 7 research projects as the Principal Investigator funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research, India; Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GOI and NIMHANS in areas of Yoga, Vocational Rehabilitation and Community Based Rehabilitation. She has organized 15 +conferences/workshops/seminars in areas of Areas of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Psychiatric Social Work and Yoga in last three years and is the recipient of 5th National Women’s Excellence Award 2012 by Government of India (GOI) and Women’s International Network (WIN).

Lynette Joubert

Professor of Social Work, University of Melbourne, Australia

• Aged abuse
• Carers
• Mental health, in particular the social aspects of depression and anxiety
• Psychosocial aspects of chronic disease
• Recovery after stroke

Dr Pashupati Mahat

Clinical psychologist with experience in public mental health in Nepal

Pashupati Mahat, clinical psychologist with experience in public mental health in Nepal. He is leading national level mental health NGO since 2003 in Nepal which supports in establishing the prevalence of mental health problems in different communities, develop and implement mental health intervention projects to establish evidence-based cost-effective mental health services at community level for targeted population and to national level as well. He is also involved in academic research and evidence-based researches in Nepal. His contribution lies in developing mental health policies of Nepal and the recent revision, mental health care practice guideline, standard treatment protocol in mental health, training package in child and adolescent mental health for doctors and health workers, training manuals for school teacher and parents, guidelines to establish mental health services to GBV survivors in district hospital, national mental health prevalence study and advocacy to address mental health service gaps.

Siu-man Ng

Department of Social Work and Social Administration & Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong

With a dual professional background in mental health social work and Chinese medicine, SM’s research theme is mental health and culture. His current research areas include (i) operationalization of the Chinese medicine stagnation syndrome as a psychological construct useful to all mental health practitioners; (ii) family expressed emotion of persons with schizophrenia and its impacts on the course of illness; (iii) critical re-examination of the conceptualization of mindfulness; and (iv) workplace well-being: a paradigm shift of focus from stress and burnout to meaning and engagement. SM is currently an Associate Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, and the Associate Director of the Centre on Behavioral Health, The University of Hong Kong, HKSAR, China.

Kate Pickett

Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences, University of York, UK

Kate trained in biological anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at Cornell and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley. She is currently Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences, and the University’s Research Champion for Justice and Equality. Kate was an UK NIHR Career Scientist from 2007-12, is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of the best-selling The Spirit Level chosen as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman and  translated into 26 languages and The Inner Level, published to critical acclaim in 2018. She is a co-founder and trustee of The Equality Trust.

Lyn Romeo

Chief Social Worker for Adults

Lyn qualified as a social worker from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 1978. She has worked in health and statutory sectors in a variety of practice, leadership, inspection and management roles. Lyn took up her post as Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in September 2013; working collaboratively with the Chief Social Worker for Children and Families.
Previously, Lyn worked as the Assistant Director for Adult Social Care in the London Borough of Camden, an inspector with the Social Services Inspectorate, and for over 20 years worked in Yorkshire as both a field social worker and in a variety of management roles across children and adults.

Diana Rose

Professor of User-Led Research, Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)

Diana Rose is a social scientist and has been a mental health service user all her adult life. After researching in the sociology of language and then teaching social psychology, anthropology and women’s studies, her first academic career was ended by the intolerability of her distress – both to her and her employer. For ten years she ‘lived in the community’, using or refusing mental health services, but also becoming involved in the user / survivor movement and finally working in a small organisation for disabled people. Much to her surprise, she was offered a position in a national NGO where her stigmatised identity was an asset rather than a liability. In 2001 she moved to the then Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and somehow has ended up the world’s first Professor of User-Led Research. She is currently researching the history, impacts and current configurations of user-led research internationally.

Mike Spencer

Professor of Social Work, University of Washington Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI)

Mike Spencer is a UW Presidential Term Professor in Social Work and the director of Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Oceanic Affairs at the University of Washington Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Social Welfare (’96).  Prior to his return to UW, Mike served as the Fedele F. Fauri Collegiate Professor of Social Work and Associate Dean for Educational Programs at the University of Michigan. He is of Native Hawaiian descent and is a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools (’83).

His research examines health and wellness among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders and is focused on interventions that promote health among Native Hawaiians through indigenous practices and values. Currently, his funded research examines the added benefit of integrating Native Hawaiian healers into primary care in Waimanalo, O’ahu.  He also works with colleagues at the University of Hawai’i  to promote food security and wellbeing through the use of backyard aquaponics systems in Waimanalo among Native Hawaiians.

Jerry Tew

Professor of Mental Health and Social Work, University of Birmingham, UK

Professor Jerry Tew has over 20 years’ experience as a mental health social worker, manager and training officer within local authorities and the voluntary sector. He has taught in Higher Education since 1998 and has had a particular interest in developing social perspectives in relation to mental health and recovery. His main areas of research have been in family-inclusive ways of working in mental health, the use of personal budgets to support recovery, and preventative or capacity building approaches in social care. His recent books include Social Approaches to Mental Distress and Mental Health Policy and Practice (with Jon Glasby) – both published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Bruce Thyer

Research Professor of Social Work at Florida State University, USA

Dr. Bruce A. Thyer is a Distinguished Research Professor of Social Work at Florida State University, USA.  He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.  Dr. Thyer has published extensively in the field of clinical social work and mental health, and has Edited the journal Research on Social Work Practice for 29 years.  He also co-edits the Journal of Evidence-Based Social Work and the Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. He is active in promoting evidence-based practice within the field of social work, the practice of clinical and programme evaluation, and application of behavior analysis within our field.

Professor Vimla V. Nadkarni

Immediate Past President of IASSW (2012 _ 2006)

Professor Vimla V. Nadkarni is Immediate Past President of IASSW; she served as President from 2012 to 2016. She headed the department of medical and psychiatric social work at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) for 20 years and was founder Dean of School of Social Work in 2006. She worked as the Secretary General of the Family Planning Association of India in 2001-2002. Her publications include “NGOs, Urban Health and the Poor”, and articles on right to health, poverty and human need, HIV/AIDS, and human rights perspectives in social work. She has guest edited the first special issue on “Social Work Education in Asia: New Horizons” of the Social Work Education the International Journal (Taylor and Francis, UK). She is currently working on an edited book on “Social Work and Field Instruction”. She is recipient of National Association of Professional Social Workers in India (NAPSWI) Life Time Achievement Award 2018.