Advancing Social Work Education for Health Impact

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

Social work education plays a critical role in preparing social workers to lead efforts that improve health. Because of the dynamic health care landscape, schools of social work must educate students to facilitate health care system improvements, enhance population health, and reduce medical costs.

We reviewed the existing contributions of social work education and provided recommendations for improving the education of social workers in 6 key areas: aging, behavioral health, community health, global health, health reform, and health policy. We argue for systemic improvement in the curriculum at every level of education, including substantive increases in content in health, health care, health care ethics, and evaluating practice outcomes in health settings.

Schools of social work can further increase the impact of the profession by enhancing the curricular focus on broad content areas such as prevention, health equity, population and community health, and health advocacy.

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