Social Work in Health Care Specialization

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, in the coming decade, the availability of jobs in medical social work will grow at a rate higher than for many other professions (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).  This demand is, in part, predicated on the projected needs of the aging baby-boomer generation as well as provisions in the Affordable Care Act (Andrews, Darnell, McBride, and Gehlert, 2013) and President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative (Collins and Varmus, 2015) that create roles and opportunities for social workers. The healthcare industry will employ more social work graduates, and with better starting salaries, than other types of organizational and institutional settings (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015).

SP2’s Social Work in Health Care Specialization (SWIHCS) aims to prepare students for successful careers across healthcare-relevant practice settings and with diverse populations and health conditions. This specialization acknowledges the lasting impact of the biomedical model on healthcare service delivery, yet grounds courses and fieldwork in the tenets of biopsychosocial approaches to social work practice. Academic work and field placements provide students in the specialization with an in-depth study of direct and macro practice work with children, families, the elderly, and communities coping with chronic and terminal illness, palliative and end of life care, in addition to skills towards health care advocacy, policy development and evaluation, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Tailored mentoring will support students’ growing capacity to bridge systems of practice, and professional development opportunities will introduce students to interdisciplinary collaboration and leadership skills.

Andrews, C.M., Darnell, J.S., McBride, T.D., & Gehlert, S. (2013). Social work and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Health and Social Work, 38(2), 67-71.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Social Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm (visited September 09, 2016).

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Social Workers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm (visited September 09, 2016).

Collins, F. S., & Varmus, H. (2015). A new initiative on precision medicine. New England Journal of Medicine372(9), 793-795.