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Social Work HEALS: Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars


The Council on Social Work Education and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation have partnered to develop and implement Social Work HEALS: Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars. Social Work HEALS aims to develop the next generation of health-care social work leaders who will stand ready to lead efforts to address system-level changes, heighten awareness of prevention and wellness, and address the issues of structural racism that are embedded in social institutions.

This will be accomplished by creating a cohort of health-care social work leaders at every professional level (including BSW, MSW, and PhD/DSW students and postdoctoral graduates) together with practice, research, and policy mentors and leaders. The New York Community Trust provided the generous funding for this project.

Watch a video from the 2019 Social Work HEALS Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. here

Project Goals

  1. Attracting and educating a new generation of BSW and MSW students who receive excellent field instruction, course work, and leadership opportunities so that they are well positioned to be an integral part of the health-care delivery team.
  2. Ensuring excellence in applying culturally competent, evidence-based practice in health-care settings by providing professional development and mentorship to field instructors and creating a network that fosters effectiveness across settings.
  3. Building the next generation of social work academic and practice leaders through supporting social work doctoral students who are contributing to the knowledge base of innovative health-care delivery through their practice and policy research.

Project Activities

Social Work HEALS includes three activity frameworks:

  1. Scholarships and fellowships for baccalaureate, master's-level, and doctoral social work students
  2. Policy fellowships 
  3. Educational enhancements and strategies to promote system changes through building learning networks, leadership development, and training opportunities
2019 HEALS Scholars at the Policy Summit
Arizona State HEALS Scholars Elizabeth Acree, Casey Paschall, and Gerri Wilder meeting with Arizona Senator, Kyrsten Sinema

HEALS Programs 

Ten social work programs or program collaboratives were selected in May 2015 through a competitive application process to serve as the hub for scholarships to support health-care education for baccalaureate and master’s social work students and field instructors. 

  1. Arizona State University
  2. Metropolitan State University of Denver
  3. Michigan State University
  4. St. Catherine University and University of St. Thomas
  5. Southern University at New Orleans
  6. University of Central Florida
  7. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  8. University of Maryland, Baltimore, and University of Maryland Baltimore County
  9. University of South Carolina
  10. University of Texas, Austin

Learn more about the 10 social work programs involved in the HEALS program here. The 2020–2021 HEALS Scholar Directory provides an overview of our current scholars.