In an attempt to be more integrative, generative, user friendly, and outcome oriented, what had been previously known as the APHSA Policy Forum was transformed, this year, into the National Summit for Health and Human Services, held May 21-25 in Arlington, VA, just minutes from downtown Washington, DC.
With more than 350 attendees and a range of general sessions, TED-style talks, and breakout sessions, the conference covered a wide range of subjects following APHSA's Pathways agenda. The theme--"Inspire, Innovate, Impact"--focused conversations on ways to work differently, better, and with more impact. Together, varied perspectives allowed conference attendees to better understand the Human Services Value Curve and how they and their organizations can move up that curve from a regulative to a generative state.
With its focus on health and human service integration, child and family well-being, and employment and economic well-being, the summit provided all attendees with an opportunity to learn, explore, and consider new and multiple ways of addressing client needs.
The summit opened with an enlightening keynote address by Nat Kendall-Taylor of the Frameworks Institute. He spoke about the potential that framing has on the way others think about our programs and the work we do. For example, it is not enough to show empathy or compassion for the clients we serve. That approach, Kendall-Taylor argued, only mires you in a swamp of prejudiced and value-laden views. It is critical, in his view, that we frame these efforts in the larger social and cultural milieu in which we operate. Thus, talking about solving individual and family problems in the context of opportunity and success helps people better identify with the people we serve; talking about the services we provide in construction terms helps people understand that our aim is to ensure that everyone is safe, protected, and able to withstand the storms of life that all of us may experience.
Over the course of the summit, attendees heard from other keynote speakers about the history of U.S. human services and the importance of using brain...