242586 Where is health in social work education?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:00 PM

Heather A. Klusaritz, MSW , Dept of Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Julie A. Cederbaum, PhD, MSW, MPH , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Dorian E. Traube, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Kyong Kim , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Brian Seo , School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Despite the increasing complexity of the U.S. healthcare system, the education of social workers equipped to practice within healthcare continues to lag. While there have been great strides in highlighting need and providing training in geriatric social work, promotion of adequate training of social workers in non-aging health care tracks requires development. Methods: A systematic review of all accredited MSW programs was undertaken. School's websites were utilized to extract whether: (1) concentration year had a “health” option, (2) if no concentration, specialization option; (3) if no concentration or specialization, were there health-related courses, and (4) presence of a MSW/MPH option. Univariate and bivariate analyses were undertaken. Results: Forty-nine programs (24.5%) listed health; of these 34 (17%) had a dedicated health-related concentration. Only 13 (6.5%) offered a specific health concentration. Twenty-nine (59%) schools were on a campus with an academic medical center and 41 with a MPH program; only 19 (39%) offered a joint MSW/MPH. There is a weak (r= .25; p<0.01) relationship with presence of a medical center and a moderate relationship (r= .48; p<0.01) with presence of a MPH. Discussion: There is a substantial gap between the demand for public health social workers and health specific MSW training. Despite a growing number of universities offering an MPH, only one-third take advantage of this critical workforce development opportunity with dual MSW/MPH degrees. It is imperative that social work education works to develop health specific educational tracks to meet the demographic and ambulatory care provision challenges of our nation's health.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the factors driving the need to develop health specific MSW concentrations/specializations. 2. Identify key university–level characteristics that support MSW/MPH program collaboration for workforce development. 4. Demonstrate innovative cross-disciplinary training models for public health social workers. 5. Design educational programs to train public health social workers in behavioral health models.

Keywords: Social Work, Public Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I design and teach course content on health care social work.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.