Dr. Gassman-Pines on “Helping Low Wage Workers and Families Recover from the Pandemic”

Lecture honored the 50th anniversary of Roberta Gassman Earning her MSSW at UW-Madison

Dr. Anna Gassman-Pines standing at podium speaking into microphone
Dr. Anna Gassman-Pines

New policies established during the pandemic to aid low wage workers and families helped reduce material hardship and mental health problems, according to research by Dr. Anna Gassman-Pines from Duke University. However, structural challenges made accessing the new support systems uneven. Additionally, white parents had more access than parents of color. 

The results of the on-going research by Gassman-Pines was part of a presentation last night at the UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work’s Roberta Gassman Distinguished Lecture.

Gassman-Pines pointed out that healthy income support from policy changes can help promote family wellbeing, but the policies implemented during the pandemic were mostly temporary and to make them permanent would require more political will. 

Roberta Gassman standing at podium speaking into microphone
Roberta Gassman

Earlier in the evening, Gassman-Pines’ mother, Roberta Gassman, was recognized for her years of public service at the federal, state, and local levels and was presented with a Certificate of Commendation from Governor Tony Evers. 

Roberta Gassman was the deputy assistant secretary for Employment and Training in the U.S. Department of Labor under President Obama; Wisconsin’s secretary of the Department of Workforce Development in the cabinet of Governor Jim Doyle; and was a top policy advisor to Governor Tony Earl. 

She earned her MSSW from UW in 1972 and is an emeritus member of our Board of Visitors and a Retired Senior Fellow of the school’s faculty. 

The Roberta Gassman Distinguished Lecture series and Opportunity Fund was established when Roberta was honored with the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2010 for her long-time work on equity and labor issues. 

Dr. Anna Gassman-Pines’ research focuses on low-wage work, family life, and effects of welfare and employment policy and child and maternal well-being in low-income families. She is a Professor of Public Policy, Psychology, and Neuroscience at Duke University. 

To contribute to the Gassman Opportunities Fund, please visit this link.