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

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.

2016-17 HEALS/Aron Doctoral Fellows:

Laura Stiel, Loma Linda University.  Research aims to identify individual-level and ecologic factors, including geographic place and space, associated with the increased rate of screening mammography undertaken by Black women in the U.S. from 2008 to 2012. 

Stephanie Begun, University of Denver. Research builds upon emerging literature that considers social network influences on homeless youths’ pro pregnancy attitudes and behaviors to inform more effective and culturally responsive approaches to pregnancy and HIV prevention among homeless youth.

Andrea Kennedy, University of Southern California. “The Longitudinal Impact of Family and Neighborhood Stress on Childhood Obesity among Maltreated and Comparison Youth.”

Eun Ha Namkung, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Research explores the intergenerational relationship in families of an adult child with disabilities and the implications for parental health.

Beth Prusaczyk, Washington University in St. Louis. Research will examine how the healthcare system currently delivers transitional care to older adults with dementia and the variation in that delivery across patient and provider characteristics.