Our podcast page features our own APHSA recordings as well as Essential Listening of interest to our members, including our Partners’ recordings. Podcasts allow us to take a deeper dive into important, timely topics effecting health and human services professionals and the individuals, families, and communities you serve. If you’re interested in adding to our podcast library with your own favorites, let us know!

APHSA Podcasts

Podcasts produced by APHSA, along with podcasts featuring APHSA as guest speakers.

Disrupt the Dialogue is a new podcast designed to allow leaders of color to share their personal experience and insight regarding the effect that race has on their lives and careers. Through this open and honest sharing of individual experiences, we aim to create a common understanding of the effects that race has on leaders of color, create a community of support, and share tools and resources to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Leaders.

Join co-hosts Tina Wright-Ervin, Organizational Effectiveness Consultant and Alexander Figueroa, Assistant Director of Learning and Development, in this podcast from the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). Disrupt the Dialogue features discussions with leaders in the health and human services industry sharing how they have dealt with challenges pertaining to race, and what their advice is to other BIPOC leaders.

Episode 5 – Discovering the Full Story

In this, the final episode of season one, we’re in dialogue with Natalie Williams. Natalie has over 25 years of experience in human services—working at the national, local, and community level and currently serving as the Chief Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging Officer (EDIB) at the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). In this episode, she touches on the need for self-care and data-driven strategies to tackle challenges in racial equity and racial justice. Data, Natalie comments, provides focus on what may sometimes be a hard conversation by removing some of the emotion and focusing on outcomes and successes. She talks about witnessing successes first-hand in her work at Jefferson County (Colorado) Human Services, where she had the opportunity to see systems come together to help move people and families out of poverty. Discussing how she sees the principles of EDIB incorporated in human services work, Natalie spotlights the necessity to understand the value of different perspectives and to think big in making advancements in racial justice.

“I would tell future leaders to dream big about what's possible because our communities are going to need strategy and planning to be able to access, compete in, and understand what a global world means to them.”

Be a part of Disrupt the Dialogue: use the hashtag #DisruptTheDialogue or write to us at [email protected]

Disrupt the Dialogue is produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design for this episode was done by Bea Mitchell.

Episode 4 – Be Unafraid to be Bold

This episode is with Dannette Smith, Chief Executive Officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Dannette has over 25 years of leadership experience in human services and is the Chair of the Executive Governing Board for the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). In our conversation, we delve into her decades-long career and what it means to be aware that, as a Black woman, not everyone will view you and your community the same way that you do. Dannette delves into her experiences in those spaces and the importance of being bold, courageous, and sure of yourself and where the work takes you. She also talks about the importance of carrying yourself with respect and graciousness in professional and personal spaces. Throughout, Dannette reflects on the ability to learn from failure as well as the need for a certain level of discomfort to initiate change beyond the status quo—both outside and within our individual communities.
“We have to allow people to sit in that. To feel a sense of uncomfortableness, but then be able to, when they’re ready, help them work through that. I think too often we want people to feel comfortable, but change doesn't happen with feeling comfortable, even for us.”

Be a part of Disrupt the Dialogue: use the hashtag #DisruptTheDialogue or write to us at [email protected]

Disrupt the Dialogue is produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design for this episode was done by Bea Mitchell.

Episode 3 - Forging A Path for Others

This episode features Vannessa Dorantes, Commissioner for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Connecticut and an Executive Governing Board Member of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). Having worked for DCF since 1992, Vannessa shares her journey as a social worker rising through the ranks to be appointed Connecticut’s first Black DCF Commissioner—a journey that included battling imposter syndrome to finally understanding her self-worth. During this episode, Commissioner Dorantes talks about the need to clearly understand EDI principles, what it means to stay true to them, and the importance of relating those values to others in your workplace. From paving the way for other BIPOC leaders to representation, she relates the work of EDI to her lived experience in the field and as an administrator. “Is racial justice work something that should be a thing set aside to focus all of our attention on, or should it be woven throughout all of our work? My response is that it’s both, until it doesn't have to be.”

Be a part of Disrupt the Dialogue: use the hashtag #DisruptTheDialogue or write to us at [email protected]

Disrupt the Dialogue is produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design for this episode was done by Bea Mitchell (they/them)

This episode features LaRae Cantley, Senior Manager of Centering Community & Well-Being at Full Frame Initiative in Greenfield, MA. LaRae has spent years as a community organizer, supporting those who confront issues of poverty, violence, trauma, and oppression. Her lived experience informs her work, and in this episode, LaRae shares her personal stories as well as an approach to human services that brings the voices of people who have been marginalized into the spaces where solutions are discussed. She argues that this shift not only provides more effective services but empowers those who need it most.

Be a part of Disrupt the Dialogue: use the hashtag #DisruptTheDialogue or write to us at [email protected]

Disrupt the Dialogue is produced by the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA). Editing and sound design for this episode was done by Brandon Mitchell.
Full Frame Initiative

Our premiere episode features Derrik Anderson, the Executive Director at Race Matters for Juvenile Justice in Charlotte, NC and a certified diversity professional. Derrik has over ten years of experience within the field of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, and in this episode, he talks about his journey into EDI, what it means to practice its principles, and the experiences that inform his approach to social justice. He also outlines advice to other BIPOC leaders who are trying to promote or currently hold leadership roles, including the importance of unapologetically affirming your voice.

Be a part of Disrupt the Dialogue: use the hashtag #DisruptTheDialogue or write to us at [email protected]

Disrupt the Dialogue is produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design for this episode was done by Brandon Mitchell.
Race Matters for Juvenile Justice

From long ago policy decisions to the ways unspoken social rules and the technology in our pockets shape our behavior, Our Dream Deferred scans across fields to find experts with deep insights into why we are the way we are as a country, how it impacts our ability to deliver the public good, and what it will take to change.

Join co-hosts Tracy Wareing Evans and Karen Heller Key, national leaders in human services, a field that works to build communities where everyone thrives. A podcast of the American Public Human Services Association, Our Dream Deferred features discussions with brilliant voices from unexpected places whose insights and lived experiences help deconstruct the American story by illuminating what we’re up against, who has been left out of the narrative, and what counterforces can finally help fulfill our nation’s promise.

Our Dream Deferred Bonus Episode

This bonus episode of “Our Dream Deferred” features a deep dive into a new podcast we are launching! APHSA is proud to premiere “Disrupt the Dialogue,” with APHSA co-hosts Tina Wright-Ervin and Alexander Figueroa. It will be a place where leaders of color can share their personal experiences and insights regarding the effect that race has on their professional journey. We talk to Tina and Alex about their own personal journeys that led them to begin this new endeavor.

Be a part of Our Dream Deferred: use the hashtag #OurDreamDeferred or write to us at [email protected]

This episode was produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design by Brandon Mitchell.

Stay tuned for more Our Dream Deferred episodes in early 2023!

Today’s episode features Dr. Wendy Ellis, Assistant Professor of Global Health at The George Washington University and Founding Director of the Center for Community Resilience. Wendy is well known as a pioneer in our understanding of trauma and resilience – in our conversation she uses her expertise in health policy, her background as a journalist, and draws on her own lived experience to pull back the lens to help us see the systemic root causes of family and community trauma. A gifted communicator of complex concepts and of stories, Wendy shares the ways in which equitable access to community supports, like good schools, libraries, parks, and safe policing can enable families and communities themselves to not just bounce back from trauma and adversity but make it possible to bounce forward and thrive. Her Center’s work with communities across the country is catalyzing systems change that offers palpable hope for overcoming deep inequities and building communities where everyone can thrive.
Content Warning: Please note that this episode includes descriptions of violence and a brief mention of suicide.

Be a part of Our Dream Deferred: use the hashtag #OurDreamDeferred or write to us at [email protected]

This episode was produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design by Brandon Mitchell.
Resources on the Building Community Resilience approach, including the Pair of ACEs Tree and the Resilience Tree
Fostering Equity resources
Center for Community Resilience 2021 Federal Legislative Agenda

This week we hear from philosopher, writer, and professor C. Thi Nguyen. Thi is perhaps best known for his recent essay in Aeon magazine, Escape the Echo Chamber, that went viral at a time when many Americans are struggling to understand the interplay between social media and the rise of conspiracy theories. Our conversation with him is wide ranging, spanning from the gamification of social media to the difference between filter bubbles and echo chambers, and why conspiracy theories are so appealing to many. Thi is the author of Games: Agency As Art, and helps us understand the power that games can have in our lives – both good and bad.

Be a part of Our Dream Deferred: use the hashtag #OurDreamDeferred or write to us at [email protected]

This episode was produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design by Brandon Mitchell.
Thi’s website with links and additional information
Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life, Theodore M. Porter
The Seductions of Quantification Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking, Sally Engle Merry

Today we hear from Tim Snyder, the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. Tim has written numerous books, including two that appeared on the New York Times best-seller list simultaneously, On Tyranny and The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America. Both volumes examine the rise of authoritarianism in the United States. As an historian specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust, he draws parallels to our modern political climate and advises on how to defend our republic and individual freedoms. His advice: “Don’t obey in advance,” reminds each of us of our place in history, the responsibility we bear, and that everything we do has some kind of moral context, including looking away. If we become complacent, we then become vulnerable to the things we have chosen to forget.

Be a part of Our Dream Deferred: use the hashtag #OurDreamDeferred or write to us at [email protected]

This episode was produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design by Brandon Mitchell.
On Tyranny, a book by Tim Snyder
The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America, a book by Tim Snyder
The War on History Is a War on Democracy, Tim Snyder New York Times article

Today we hear from Phil Howard, who is a professor of sociology, information and international affairs, and the author of Lie Machines: How to Save Democracy from Troll Armies, Deceitful Robots, Junk News Operations, and Political Operatives. Studying information infrastructure and social systems at the same time, he provides a unique and integrated perspective on the impacts of social media on modern life, and why it matters. By illustrating how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and social media have been used to bring out the worst in us, Professor Howard helps us see a better path forward. His ideas for public agencies include mapping out how to better meet constituents on social media. Tune in for a wide-ranging and thoughtful conversation.

Be a part of Our Dream Deferred: use the hashtag #OurDreamDeferred or write to us at [email protected]

Phil Howard’s commentary and articles: https://philhoward.org/
The Navigator tool: https://navigator.oii.ox.ac.uk/
Oxford Internet Institute: https://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/

This episode was produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design by Brandon Mitchell.

In this week’s episode of Our Dream Deferred: Fulfilling the Nation’s Promise, we’re in conversation with Derrik Anderson, Executive Director at Race Matters for Juvenile Justice. Derrik helps us reflect on the American Dream in the context of taking a frank look at the lived experiences of people of color in the United States. Derrik uses a historical lens to explore policies, their impacts on systems and institutions, and the biases they can lead to, and encourages us to continually do the work to counter racism, white supremacy culture, and other injustices. Key will be to create a shared language across institutions and groups to address these problems – an activity you’re participating in just listening to this podcast!

Be a part of Our Dream Deferred: use the hashtag #OurDreamDeferred or write to us at [email protected]

This episode was produced by APHSA. Editing and sound design by Brandon Mitchell.
Link: https://rmjj.org/

These past few years, as our country has become more fragmented, and longstanding biases have come into plain sight, we’ve searched for ways to understand what we’re experiencing more deeply and to benefit from perspectives that can help us envision a path forward. In this week’s episode of Our Dream Deferred: Fulfilling the Nation’s Promise, we’ll cover the importance of narrative change and how to do it in a positive way, what we can do as leaders and organizations to contribute to meaningful change, and what behavioral science can teach us about how to reach the people and communities we serve. This episode’s guest is Anthony Barrows, a Managing Director at ideas42.

An overview & welcome to Our Dream Deferred. Find out how we will explore the American story, as inspired by Langston Hughes’ poem, Dream Deferred: “What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it dry up / Like a raisin in the sun? / Or fester like a sore--/ And then run? / Does it stink like rotten meat? / Or crust and sugar over--/ like a syrupy sweet? / Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. / Or does it explode?”

Organizational Change: Building Effective Organizations One Person at a Time
In this episode of BerryDunn’s podcast, host Andrea Richardson explores Organizational Effectiveness (OE) and Organizational Development (OD) with Jennifer Kerr, Director of Organizational Effectiveness at APHSA, and Megan Clough, Senior Consultant at BerryDunn. They discuss how teams can use OE and OD to better work with each other and with the children, youth, and families they support.

Inside Arizona’s Investment in Evidence-Based Foster Care Prevention
On this episode of Mathematica’s podcast, On the Evidence, host Meg Dygert, Senior Policy Associate for Child and Family Well-Being joins Katherine Guffey, Executive Consultant to the Director of the Arizona Department of Child Safety and Allon Kalisher, Senior Researcher at Mathematica to discuss a parent education program in Arizona that Mathematica evaluated, the Family First law, and the long-term implications of the law’s provisions around prevention services and evidence of effectiveness.

Listen Here!
Human Services Agencies Can Advance Environmental Justice

APHSA President & CEO Tracy Wareing Evans is a guest speaker on Mathematica’s podcast “On the Evidence,” making the case for state and local human services agencies to play a central role in advancing environmental justice.

In the Ring with Héctor Colón
APHSA President & CEO Tracy Wareing Evans is a guest speaker on the "In the Ring with Héctor Colón" podcast, sharing a call to the public sector: “How are you showing up?”

Listen Here!
Unpacking the American Rescue Plan, Part 2
May 2021

In part two of the latest podcast episode from the Center for Accountability, Modernization, and Innovation (CAMI), listen to APHSA President & CEO Tracy Wareing Evans, in a discussion with CAMI Chairman Stan Soloway and former Representative John Faso, along with former OMB official Ed DeSeve, on the opportunities and challenges presented by the American Rescue Plan. You can check out Part 1 of Unpacking the American Rescue Plan here.

Using Prevention Strategies To Help Families Thrive (10/29/20)
APHSA has joined forces with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to support the transformation of the child welfare system through a prevention first model. In this podcast, APHSA's President & CEO Tracy Wareing Evans, along with ASTHO’s CEO Michael Fraser, discuss the intersection of human services and public health and why it’s so important for these two sectors to work together to achieve a shared vision of thriving families.

Oregon DHS Moves Up The Human Services Value Curve
APHSA Director of Organizational Effectiveness Phil Basso joins the OR Department of Human Services for an overview of the organizational assessment APHSA is conducting to determine where Oregon is on the Value Curve and how it can ascend this maturity model to realize the potential of the people we serve.

Special Edition: Building a Resilient and Just Society
APHSA President & CEO Tracy Wareing Evans is a guest speaker on “Special Edition: Building a Resilient and Just Society,” a podcast produced by the National Academy of Public Administration.

Administrative Data in Health and Human Services
Our first APHSA Podcast series is a conversation inspired by the Pew Charitable Trust’s report, How States Use Data to Inform Decisions.

Administrative Data in Health and Human Services
This is the first of three conversations inspired by the Pew Charitable Trust’s report, How States Use Data to Inform Decisions. We speak with Dr. Bill Hazel, Virginia’s former Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and Tony Fung, Virginia’s former Deputy Secretary of Technology, to discuss their work as it relates to data, analytics, opioids, funding, and more.
Using Data in Health and Human Services Agencies
In our second conversation inspired by the Pew Charitable Trust’s report, How States Use Data to Inform Decisions, we talk with Lily Alpert, Senior Researcher at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, about their curriculum specifically focused on helping state agencies utilize data to improve service delivery. We also dive into Tennessee's experience in training staff on using data to inform internal and program decisions with Britany Binkowski who served at the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, most recently as Special Assistant to the Commissioner, and is now the Director of New Allies at Youth Villages.
Using Quality Assurance to Promote Racial Justice
Join us for our final discussion inspired by the Pew Charitable Trust’s report, How States Use Data to Inform Decisions. This time we chat with Susan Smith who has worked with the Connecticut Department of Children for almost 24 years and is currently serving as the agency’s Director of the Office for Research and Evaluation. The materials discussed throughout the podcast that are related to Connecticut's data work are available below:

Essential Listening

Podcasts relevant to our APHSA members on topics ranging from HHS news to racial equity to lifestyle.

All In: Student Pathways Forward
May 2021

This podcast series hosted by Marc Goldberg is from Oregon's SkillSPAN efforts with the National Skills Coalition and Pathways to Opportunity. It highlights the collaboration and partnership between SNAP E&T and community colleges to support students. The latest episode focuses on elevating community college student voices in Oregon to shape inclusive higher education/workforce development policies, programs and partnerships that create economic mobility.

Ascend’s Student Parent Podcast: 1 in 5!
Twenty two percent -- or 1 in 5 undergraduates are parents. Ascend at the Aspen Institute launched 1 in 5, a new podcast focusing on the experience of students who are parents pursuing postsecondary credentials. Each episode features in-depth conversations with student parents and those who advocate for them in the fields of education, philanthropy, non-profit, and research. Listen to the first 12 episodes now.

How Fatherhood Programs Supported Dads During the Pandemic
In this episode of “On the Evidence” by Mathematica, guests discuss COVID-19’s implications for delivering fatherhood engagement services during and after the pandemic. Mathematica has been gathering information on what works in engaging fathers across a wide range of human services programs, with the goal of helping fathers and families thrive.

Public Leadership in the Time of COVID
The Urban Institute shares this podcast on COVID recovery. The country has now spent more than a year dealing with COVID-19. In a new podcast episode, local leaders discuss how they are working to support their communities and how they envision the road to recovery.

How Do You Measure Child Well-Being?
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities shares this podcast from Milton Little Jr., president and CEO of United Way of Atlanta. Little reimagined his organization’s focus based on data, working to develop a child well-being index measuring 14 different indicators across health, education, and income at the family, community, and individual levels to assess need and set a baseline for improvement.

Speaking of Racism
A podcast series dedicated to frank, honest, and respectful discussions about racism in the United States. It has more than 50 podcasts over 2019-20, including episode 21 on Juneteenth with Historian Brigette Jones.

Family First
This podcast from the Child Welfare Information Gateway shares how the Family First Prevention Services Act has changed how we support families—especially when working with families who need mental health and substance use treatment services.

National Conference of State Legislatures - Our American States Podcast
COVID-19: Jeb Bush on Leadership, Federalism and the Challenges for States

Code Switch is a multi-racial, multi-generational team of NPR journalists who cover race and identity.

Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast features movement voices, stories, and strategies for racial justice. Co-hosts Chevon and Hiba give their unique takes on race and pop culture, and uplift narratives of hope, struggle, and joy, as we continue to build the momentum needed to advance racial justice in our policies, institutions, and culture.

GovLove - A Podcast About Local Government
GovLove is a podcast about the people, policies and profession of local government. From Mayors and City Managers to interns and everyone in between, we interview the people making a difference in their communities to learn about the great work being done at the local level.

Hope Through History -- with Pulitzer Prize Winning and Best Selling Author and Historian, Jon Meacham
Explores some of the most historic and trying times in American History, and how this nation dealt with these moments, the impact of these moments and how we came through these moments a unified nation. Season One takes a look at critical moments around the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the polio epidemic and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Health Disparities
This podcast series from Movement is LifeTM covers health disparities in the U.S. with many episodes focusing specifically on COVID-19 and racial disparities in health.

This New York Times podcast released in 2019 tells the story of slavery in America on its 400th anniversary, a crucial part of history to understand in the ongoing conversation about race equity. In August of 1619, a ship carrying more than 20 enslaved Africans arrived in the English colony of Virginia. America was not yet America, but this was the moment it began. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is time to tell the story.

Work Life with Adam Grant
You spend a quarter of your life at work. You should enjoy it! Organizational psychologist Adam Grant takes you inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals to discover the keys to a better work life.