Wellness in Our Global Community: Clarifying Definitions, Providing Opportunities, Protecting Rights

Embracing a human rights perspective (Declaration of Human Rights, 1984), we at the Millersville University School of Social Work’s Learning Institute are dedicated to the interrogation of global social issues that violate or compromise individuals’ ability to live with the freedoms and protections to which they are entitled.  The fundamental assumption embodied by human rights is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity (United for Human Rights, 2017).   The Learning Institute provides a platform from which experts share their knowledge and offer training for agents of social change.  Each year, The Learning Institute hosts events that center on a particular theme reflected in the Learning Institute’s literature, roster of speakers, and annual conference. For the 2017-2018 academic year, the Learning Institute is focused on wellness.

Wellness is a complex construct. The World Health Organization (WHO, 1948) defines wellness as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.  Other research suggests that wellness is synergistic state that is cultivated from the satisfaction of needs in six domains:  interpersonal, community, occupational, psychological, physical, and economic (Duff, Rubenstein, & Prilleltensky, 2016).  What unifies diverse and cross-disciplinary definitions of wellness is the implication that the minimum achievement of basic needs falls short of wellness.  In states of wellness, individuals flourish under the freedoms and protections of human rights.  Researchers, practitioners, and other social change agents can assist in the creation of global wellness by continuing to clarify this concept and developing policies, programs, and interventions that target its development.

This year’s conference, Wellness in our Global Community:  Clarifying Definitions, Providing Opportunities, Protecting Rights, invites presentations (paper, roundtable, and workshop) that explore different understandings of wellness and its myriad dimensions and manifestations.  Our conference welcomes research that identifies barriers to wellness, as well as strategies (policies, programs, and practices) to promote wellness across diverse populations.  These presentations may be original research, theoretical framework(s), clinical interventions, pedagogy, and/or policy/advocacy.  Definitions of wellness are complex and multifaceted; strategies to enhance it require equally complex and interdisciplinary responses.  Scholars, practitioners, students, and agents of social change from all disciplines are encouraged to submit proposals.

Submitted proposal should fall under one of the following formats:

  1. Paper: 60 minute presentations of original research, theoretical framework, and clinical interventions. (Depending upon number of submissions, you may be paired with another paper presentation for 30 minute presentations, each)
  1. Roundtable: 15 minutes of presentation followed by 45 minutes of interactive discussion on a variety of topics related to the conference theme with conference participants.
  1. Workshop: 60 minutes of educational, interactive, and experiential learning activity.

Proposal Requirements

  1. Session Title (12 words or less)
  2. Abstract (50 words or less) for inclusion in the conference program
  3. Proposal (no more than 500 words)
  4. Learning Outcomes (minimum of three; At the end of this session, participants will be able to ….)
  5. References
  6. Audio/Visual Technology Requirements

Presenter Information (include on separate page to ensure blind review)

  1. Presenter(s) Name (please indicate primary presenter), credentials, and brief bio for each presenter
  2. Organization
  3. Title
  4. Address
  5. City, State, Zip
  6. Email
  7. Phone


  • After proposals have been accepted, changes to presenters are not permitted.
  • Incomplete proposals will not be considered.
  • If accepted, all presenters agree to register for conference and pay applicable conference fee.

Proposal Deadline: All proposals are due no later than March 30, 2018 by 11:59 pm EST.  Please submit your proposal to learninginstitute@millersville.edu

The conference will take place at Millersville University’s downtown campus, The Ware Center (42 N. Prince Street, Lancaster, PA 17603) from June 6-8, 2018.

Please contact Karen Rice at karen.rice@millersville.edu with any questions.  We look forward to seeing you in Lancaster County, PA in June!



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