The Third International Conference for Advancement of Social Work in Post-Communist Countries: The Global Challenge of Social Work Integration into Health Care Tbilisi, Georgia, June 14-15, 2017

Conference Description and Call for Papers


The nascent social work profession in the post-communist realm has taken many forms, and its progress has been uneven and fraught with many obstacles. From East Germany to Mongolia, social workers respond to the daunting challenges of their profession while at the same time struggling to establish profession’s identity and gain legitimacy in the practice arena. For the past two years, social work educators and professionals from fifteen post-communist countries were meeting annually in Moldova to discuss common problems and develop strategies for advancement of the social work profession in the region. These conferences served as the foundation for the ongoing dialogue, exchange of ideas, and program development in social work education and practice. The imperative for sustaining and formalizing the relationship among the social work partners from post-Soviet countries for the purpose of mutual help and common agenda was recognized. Toward that end, the Third International Conference for Advancement of Social Work in Post-Soviet Countries will be held in Tbilisi, Georgia on June 14-15, 2017.



Twenty-five years ago, the social work profession emerged in the post-communist region to tackle the challenge of serious social problems in the newly-independent countries. Each country followed its own path, but a common trend has emerged: the nascent social work profession struggles to establish itself against the systemic resistance.  Particularly challenging is the goal of integrating social work into health care, despite the apparent need and prevailing international practice. In the field, dominated by medical professionals, the critically-important social aspects of wellness are often overlooked.  The path toward social work professionalization and legitimization in post-communist countries lies through the profession’s integration into health care systems. This challenge is complex and has to be approached strategically – through an extensive international dialogue, exchange of ideas, and programmatic collaboration, particularly among social work educators.



  • Share the international experience of integrating social work into health care
  • Identify of specific knowledge and skills as educational imperatives for integrating social work professionals into the health care system.
  • Discuss university curricula for preparing social work cadre for working in health care
  • Identify systemic obstacles to integrating social work into health care and possible means of overcoming them
  • Create a sustainable platform for the ongoing international dialogue, exchange of ideas, curriculum innovation, and program development.


Location:  Tbilisi is the capital of Georgia, that is located in the spectacular Caucusus Mountains. It is a vibrant modern city with great architecture, rich culture, fantastic food, and wonderful people. Georgia is at the forefront of social work development in the post-communist countries. The conference will take place in the comfortable university setting – at the center of the city.


Participants: 40-50 social work educators, practitioners, administrators, and social policy-makers from post-Soviet countries, EU, North America, and interested representatives from other regions of the world.


Target audience: social workers, social work educators, medical professionals and those from allied health-related disciplines, students.


Expected outcomes:

  • Identify global strategies for integration of social work into health care
  • Identify education priorities for preparing social work cadre for the mental health field
  • Identity global organizations that would take part in the project of social work integration into health care in the post-Soviet realm
  • Identify priorities and strategies for attainment of social work professionalization and legitimization
  • Address the issue of multi-disciplinary approach to social work in health care
  • Create a sustainable organizational platform for the future dialogue, exchange of ideas, curricular innovation, and program development
  • Set the approximate date and location of the Fourth International Conference for Advancement of Social Work in Post-Soviet Countries in 2018


Call for papers:

The conference will include of keynote sessions from renowned speakers in the field of social work, academic paper presentations, round table discussions, networking opportunities, and a post-conference tour with dinner.

You are kindly invited to send your research papers and presentations. We hope to address both the practical and theoretical issues facing social workers, particularly in health care, and how these issues are changing the profession and our society.  We listed some recommended topics but, broadly interpreted, health affects all walks of life and human endeavor. Therefore, please do not feel limited to the subject below.

  • Challenges and opportunities in developing social work in health systems
  • International dimension in gealth-oriented social work education and practice
  • Social work in mental health and substance abuse – regional challenges and lessons from afar
  • Research and evaluation of social work practice in health systems
  • Praxis in the social work practice in the health field
  • Wellness, etc.– alternative social work-oriented models for understanding and treatment of disease

Please register at the following link by Thursday, June 1st, 2017: