World Social Work Day Forum: Fostering a culture of sharing practice and research

Mrs Bobbi Henao Urrego1, Ms Elisabeth Long1

1Western Sydney Local health District, Sydney, Australia


In New South Wales, the South East Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) holds an annual World Social Work Day Forum. Established in 2011 it aims to foster a culture of sharing practice and research while developing social worker’s presentation skills.


Having never been formally reviewed from a presenter’s perspective, an online survey of past presenters of the SESLHD World Social Work Day Forum was conducted in 2016 to ascertain whether the aims of the Forum had been achieved. The hypothesis being that the Forum attracted less experienced social workers that then went on to pursue further experiences.


The hypothesis was disproved, with findings showing the majority of respondents had 5-10 years’ experience, and post-graduate qualifications. A review of presentation topics also showed the evolving depth of practice and research among those  participating in the Forum. It was also noted that a significant proportion of respondents had remained working within the local health district since presenting.

Significance of the findings to allied health:

Both the Forum and the outcomes of this review are translatable across allied health.  Creating a supported space for people to share their practice and research within their disciplines allows growth for the individual and organisation, which in turn can enhance evidence based practice and patient care. Alongside this, from a managerial capacity it has the potential to contribute to workforce retention strategies.