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 Health Care Education and Leadership Scholars. Social Work HEALS aims to develop the next generation of healthcare 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 healthcare 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.

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 healthcare delivery team.
  2. Ensuring excellence in applying culturally competent, evidence-based practice in healthcare 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 healthcare 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

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 healthcare 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 School of Social Work
  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.  Four HEALS students were featured in our 2018 Social Work Month series.

Fellowship Opportunities

The HEALS doctoral and policy fellowships are administered by the NASW Foundation. The existing NASW Foundation Aron (doctoral level) and Lyons (MSW level) fellowships are also being supplemented and incorporated into the HEALS program activities. Please visit the NASW Foundation for more information.

2017 - 2018 Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellow
Whitney Sewell, Washington University of St. Louis. The research explores why the use of a new prevention option for HIV-negative individuals - oral daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), that has been shown to reduce HIV acquisition, is disproportionately lower among African American women. The study will address this gap.
2017 - 2018 Social Work HEALS Doctoral Fellows
Emma Kay, University of Alabama. The study explores the association between health care payer type and HIV health among low-income people living with HIV.
Elizabeth Matthews, Rutgers University. "Electronic Health Records and Integrated Mental Health Treatmen: The Impact of Computer use on the Quality of Care."
Yi Wang, Washington University of St. Louis. The study aims to understand community environmental effects on activity engagement and well-being among community-dwelling older adults in the United States.
Eun-Hye Yi, Indiana University. "Using technology to Enhance the Economic Well-Being and Health of Dementia Caregivers: Implications for Social Work Practice and Policy."