Topeka, Kan. - Hundreds of future social workers will be at Washburn University and the Kansas Statehouse March 6 for Social Work Advocacy Day. The annual event attracts social work students and faculty from around the state, as well as professional social workers for networking and advocacy training.

The morning session begins at 9 a.m. in the Washburn Room in the Memorial Union and wraps up in the afternoon with a trip to the Kansas Capitol where attendees will visit legislators. A key initiative this session is Governor Kelly’s work to expand Medicaid.

“The state has a severe shortage of providers,” said Dr. Tonya Ricklefs, BSW field education director and associate professor, Washburn University department of social work. “As an educator, it is rewarding to watch our students advocate for important legislation that will impact the field even before their careers begin.”

A recent report from Mental Health America, tracking mental illness and the ease of accessing care, ranks Kansas at the bottom. Only three states scored lower than Kansas on access to mental health care.

“I believe there’s strength in numbers. Through Social Work Advocacy Day and other initiatives, we collectively hope to enhance the social work field in our state and provide the care that’s needed for all Kansans,” Ricklefs said.

Social Work Advocacy Day is sponsored by NASW-KS Chapter with the Kansas Council on Social Work Education. This marks the 26th year of the advocacy event which attracts students from both undergraduate and graduate social work programs at universities across the state.

Find the event agenda at Social Work Advocacy Day — NASW (


    Founded in 1865, Washburn University is a public institution with more than 6,000 students involved in more than 200 academic programs. Washburn’s programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master's degree or doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees. The programs are offered through Washburn’s six primary academic units – College of Arts and Sciences, School of Applied Studies, School of Business, School of Nursing, School of Law and Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech).

    All programs are offered on either the 160-acre residential campus in the heart of Topeka, Kan., at Washburn Tech’s campus on Topeka’s west side or in the east Topeka facility. Washburn University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and many of the individual programs have additional accreditations.

For further information, contact:
Joy Bailes
Director of Internal Communications and Brand Management
Telephone: (785) 670-2153
Cell: (785) 230-1648

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