Online Program

Mapping dual-degree programs in social work and public health: Results from a national survey

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 12:45 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Dory Ziperstein, MSW, MPH, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Ashley Clement, MSW, MPH Candidate, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Jamie Wyatt Marshall, MSW, MPH, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Esther Velásquez, MSW, MPH, School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Betty J. Ruth, MSW, MPH, School of Social Work, Boston University School of Social Work, Boston, MA
Overview: Dual-degree programs in social work and public health (MSW/MPH) are popular and appear to be growing. As of 2006, approximately 20 programs existed. These programs train master's level practitioners to draw from both field's theories, research, and interventions to impact today's multifaceted social health issues. While clearly important to the profession's role in prevention and public health, little data has been formally compiled on MSW/MPH programs.

The goal of the MSW/MPH Mapping Project was to establish the current number of US MSW/MPH programs, and to identify distinctive features, commonalities, and differences.

Methods: Researchers compiled a sample of current programs utilizing website analysis; an electronic survey was distributed in early 2013 to 37 MSW/MPH programs' administrators. The response rate was 81% (n=30). Results were compiled and analyzed.

Findings: MSW/MPH programs are geographically dispersed, with 30% (n=9) located in the Northeast and another 30% in the Southeast (n=9). The average number of annual graduates was 4.4, (n=25) and number of required credits average 84.5 (n=30). Only six programs (20%) utilize the term "public health social work" to describe their mission, goals, or activities. Even fewer, (13%; n=4) require an integrative seminar. Respondents reported student motivation for enrolling were enhanced marketability and interest in combining two fields' competencies. Additional findings provide more insight into program differences.

Summary: In light of recent health reform and a growing emphasis on prevention, information about MSW/MPH programs is of importance to social work. This study provides a snapshot of the current “map” of MSW/MPH programs.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe and discuss findings on the number and location of current MSW/MPH programs in the U.S. Analyze the diversity and differences between programs. Identify recommendations for how to utilize these baseline findings to increase research on MSW/MPH programs and their graduates.

Keyword(s): Public Health Curriculum, Social Work

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: At the time of APHA, I will be a recent graduate of an MSW/MPH dual degree program, and have a stake in the future and success of these programs. For the last year, the director the MSW/MPH program has been my mentor and we have collaborated to outline this project, collect data, and summarize implications for practice.
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.