CSWE Leads Initiative to Help Prepare Social Workers for Serving U.S. Military Personnel and Their Families


For Immediate Release
Carrie M. deGuzman
Marketing & Communications Manager
1.703.519.2057, cmurdock@cswe.org

Alexandria, VA, February 2, 2010 – CSWE has launched an advanced practice in military social work education initiative to bridge the gap between the number of available prepared practitioners and the demand for social services with military personnel and their families. The initiative began Thursday with a meeting, cosponsored by the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work, of a group of 35 experts from various social work higher education, professional association, and military backgrounds. The initiative will result in an educators’ guide to advanced social work practice competencies in military social work.

This guide to the necessary specialized knowledge and skills to practice military social work will broadly address practice with military personnel, veterans, and their families. The guide will be reviewed over the next several months by scholars and other audiences that provide support to veterans and their families. By June the information obtained during this research period will be translated into a user-friendly reference accessible both online and in print.

“Today, the need for prepared social workers is greater than in any previous war. A new approach to the preparation of social workers and mental health professionals is essential,” said Anthony Hassan, chair of CSWE’s military social work education initiative. “Social workers bring a unique clinical and organizational systems perspective that can help military personnel, veterans, and their families with the complex challenges that they face. This initiative is vital to generate a rapid ramp-up of capacity and competence focused expressly on the unique treatment requirements of today’s wounded warriors and their families.”

The participants in this initiative hope the advanced practice guide for military social work will lead to increased concentration offerings at social work programs that address military cultural awareness and combat-related mental disorders, such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. For practicing social workers who have already earned their MSW, the goal is to create courses or certificate programs in the same areas. Enhanced training in military social work will help improve the health and well-being of veterans, their families, and the community.

CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards (EPAS) is the statement that baccalaureate and master’s social work programs are required to follow to attain and maintain accreditation with CSWE. The 2008 EPAS identifies 10 competencies that compose social work practice at the generalist practice level. CSWE’s military social work education initiative will directly address the 2008 EPAS by outlining what a social worker must know and be able to do to work effectively at the advanced practice level with military personnel, veterans, and their families.

The 35 experts advising this initiative include its chair, Anthony Hassan (University of Southern California); Deborah Amdur (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs); Judy Arnold (Association of V.A. Social Workers); Kathryn Basham (Smith College); Frank Baskind (Virginia Commonwealth University); Phyllis Black (Marywood University); Judith Bremner (CSWE’s Accreditation and Educational Excellence director); Terri Brown (Fayetteville State University); Barbara Chandler (University of Alabama); Jon Conte (University of Washington); James Daley (Indiana University); Renee Daniel (Daemen College); Alan Dettlaff (University of Illinois at Chicago); Marilyn Flynn (University of Southern California); Cody Frasure (Association of V.A. Social Workers); Jesse Harris (University of Maryland); Jessica Holmes (CSWE’s associate director for research); Cindy Jones (Norfolk State University); Mildred “Mit” Joyner (West Chester University); Nathan Keller (U.S. Army/Fayetteville State University); Jim Kelly (National Association of Social Workers); Todd Lennon (U.S. Public Health Service); Cathleen Lewandowski (George Mason University); Jim Martin (Bryn Mawr College); Monica Matthieu (Washington University/St. Louis VA Medical Center); Julie Niven (Association of Social Work Boards); Mike Patchner (Indiana University); Jo Ann Regan (University of South Carolina); Jack Richman (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill); Carol Sheets (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs); James Stockus (National Naval Medical Center); Peter Vaughan (Fordham University); Julia Watkins (CSWE’s executive director); Cynthia Williams (CSWE’s research associate); Marleen Wong (University of Southern California); and Jeff Yarvis (U.S. Army/Walter Reed Army Medical Center).

Five of these 35 experts also participated on a joint task force on veterans’ affairs that was organized by CSWE and social work education partnering organizations.

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is a nonprofit national association representing more than 3,000 individual members, as well as graduate and undergraduate programs of professional social work education. Founded in 1952, this partnership of educational and professional institutions, social welfare agencies, and private citizens is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education.


CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting also has a new presentation area or “Track” focusing on military social work.