Why Social Work is Political, and How it Matters for Democracy

Tanya Rhodes Smith of the School of Social Work talks about elections, health, and why policymakers should seek insight from social workers

Research has shown that high rates of voter participation are correlated with overall health (Sean Flynn / UConn Photo).

Not only is voting a fundamental right, but it’s also good for you, says Tanya Rhodes Smith – and its part of her mission as director of the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work to mobilize and engage voters and, in turn, improve the health of communities.

“Communities that vote at higher rates have significantly better outcomes, and there’s some research to show that the practice is even good for individuals,” she said in a recent interview with the UConn 360 podcast.

The Humphreys Institute not only works to engage and mobilize voters but also trains social workers to exercise their “superpowers” to make a difference in public policy through its annual Campaign School for Social Workers. Hear Rhodes Smith discuss why social workers belong in politics, why its important for voters to participate in democracy, and ways to combat barriers to voter engagement.


Listen to the interview on the UConn 360 podcast: