Investing in America’s Future: The Impact of Improved Communication Systems on Student Leadership Outcomes Presented by: Melody J. Wilding, LMSW Healthcare Communications Consultant
Population Aging and Social Work • 20% expected growth in older adult population • 70,000 professionally trained social workers needed …but, only 3-4% of social work students specialize in aging and most schools lack the specialization at all.
The Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education An eight-year initiative coordinated by the Social Work Leadership Institute (SWLI) at the New York Academy of Medicine, supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Geriatric Social Work Initiative • GOALS: • Train and prepare the next generation of geriatric social workers • Increase interest in aging as a field of practice • Increase rankings of well-qualified geriatric social workers
Successes: Student Level • 80% of graduates pursue careers in aging field • 81% feel HPPAE was crucial to career preparation
www.socialworkleadership.org Implementation and Reach • 72HPPAE Schools • 33 States Graduates by the end of 2011 = 2615 Launch 7 more regions through 2013 …But how do we reach & connect social workers in aging nationwide?
HPPAE Google Sites PROBLEM: HPPAE’s national outreach and program enrollment is growing each year, yet the ability to develop comprehensive networking tools is not advancing nearly as fast. GOAL: Utilize innovative and cost-minimizing “cloud computing” technology to enhance HPPAE’s student leadership component and overall program cohesion
HPPAE Google Sites • ONE-STOP-SHOP STUDENT RESOURCE • Committee on Leadership in Aging • Application info • Member bios • Read new and archived newsletters • Submit to and access the Peer Reviewed Journal Development Tools • Job boards • Customizable business cards • Student Spotlight • Scholarships, fellowships • Loan forgiveness • Events, conferences • Calls for papers • Aging web resources
Results: Visitor Metrics • Very high initial response rate of 76.8% • As of July 2011, there are 364 active students, representing a 56%increase in student responsiveness since the site’s launch only 8 prior. • New visits have increased over 46% percent, indicating that students are latching onto the site as a valuable resource within the HPPAE program
Results: Visitor Metrics • Visitors spend an average on 6:50 minutes on the HPPAE Google Site • American spend less than a minute on a webpage (Neilsen, 2009) • Average time increased in February
Results: Visitor Metrics • Visitors average 6 internal page visits • Positively trending, demonstrating that average page-per-view is increasing
Results: Content Metrics • Results support Google Sites as a mechanism for promoting CLIA • High visit rates to “CLIA” & “What Students are Doing” pages suggest students are eager to network with peers • Top ranking “Job Corner” & “Funding/Aid/Loan Forgiveness” suggest students want professionally focused resources specifically for aging and social work
Lessons Learned Following the 8-month initiation stage of the HPPAE Google Sites project • Advantages of cloud computing • Ease of use – intuitive design platform • Cost- minimizing – lower personnel and equipment costs • Logistics of launch • Launching during winter holidays • Email invitations filtering to spam • Content of interest • Main web page features – social media links • Committee on Leadership in Aging – bios and deliverables • Job opportunities • Financial Aid Information
Get connected • ADD US • FACEBOOK • TWITTER • LINKEDIN • YOUTUBE • IDEALIST.ORG
Innovation is not an option. Best Practices
Best practices • Streamline your message • Consistent color scheme and logo throughout your web presence • Build a network – “friend” local organizations or those with similar missions • Sync routes of communication • Put social media buttons on your website, encourage traffic to your website by linking it on your social media
Best practices • Be responsive • Field responses to users’ comments • Monitor outlets for “mentions” • Ask questions • Encourage participation & feedback by hosting contents, posting survey • Look alive • Rule of thumb • Facebook – at least 1x/ week • Twitter – at least 3x/week
About • Melody J. Wilding, LMSW Melody Wilding, LMSW, is a non-profit communications consultant & specialist in health & aging policy. She has helped organizations throughout the tri-state area establish & improve their web presence and external outreach. Ms. Wilding has developed competency training materials for practitioners and has worked on advocacy campaigns to support Medicaid home care services. She has also worked with older adults clinically in an assisted living and psychiatric setting. She received her MSW from Columbia University in 2011 and graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University in 2009 with a B.A. in Psychology.
References Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. (2008). Retooling for an aging America: Building the health care workforce. Washington, DC: The National Press. National Institute of Aging. (1987). Personal health needs of elderly through the year 2020. Bethesda, MD: Department of Health and Human Services Social Work Leadership Institute. (2004). The Hartford Partnership Program in Aging Education: Cycles 1 & 2, 2005-2009 Summary Report, New York. Gass, J., Nandi, V., Weiss, L. Social Work Leadership Institute. (2009). Hartford Partnership in Aging Education: Student Summary Multi-Site Report, New York. Weiss, L., Nandi, V., Gass, J. Volland, P. (2008). Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE) Student Summary Multi-Site Report. New York, New York: Social Work Leadership Institute, The New York Academy of Medicine. The Hartford Partnership Program For Aging Education: A Guide to Infusing a Rotational Field Education Model Into Your MSW Program on Aging. Retrieved on February 24, 2010 from www.hartfordpartnership.org
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