Health in Social Work

Social workers play a vital role on a health care team along with physicians, nurses, and other physical and mental health professionals. They assist individuals and their families in coping with and adapting to a variety of health-related conditions, including acute, chronic, and terminal illnesses, as well as trauma. Hospitals and community-based health care organizations offer employment opportunities for social workers as clinicians, case managers, and administrators.

Social workers utilize evidence-based clinical approaches to serve clients in various health care settings, including primary health/prevention; hospital inpatient and outpatient units, including emergency rooms, intensive care, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, geriatrics, renal dialysis, trauma care, and palliative care; new technology services, including stem cell research, genetic counseling, and transplant care; as well as rehabilitation, home health services, hospice, long-term care facilities, public health agencies, and research centers.


Graduates of this track are able to:

  • Describe how culture, class, geography, lifestyle, and gender influence disease and access to health care settings.
  • Utilize the bio-psycho-social impact of illness and disability to assess individual clients across the life span.
  • Recognize how diverse health/illness conditions, populations, and conditions for diverse populations impact social work practice
  • Participate in inter-disciplinary teams and function within an advanced managed-care context.
  • Take on and successfully handle leadership and administrative roles in the dynamic health care industry.
  • Analyze U.S. Health Policy within the political, economic, and social trends that influence health care delivery in the United States and in comparative and global contexts.
  • Research health-related issues within a social work context.
  • Use research skills for accountability purposes in a managed-care context and practice settings.
  • Employ prevention efforts within a continuum of care in the health care field.
  • Use the NASW Code of Ethics for practice in health settings.
  • Resolve ethical dilemmas arising in health care settings.

Health in Social Work Concentration Program of Study Guide

Types of Health Practicum Placements: Hospitals, home health, hospice, clinics and community-based prevention and/or intervention programs.

For more information, please contact:
Caren J. Frost, PhD, MPH
Chair, Health in Social Work Concentration

Last Updated: 9/4/18