WASHINGTON, D.C. – The New York Community Trust (NYCT), one of the nation’s largest community foundations, has renewed a grant through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to educate and train more social workers to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the United States.
NYCT will award the two social work organizations $1 million over the next two years to continue the Social Work HEALS initiative. Part of the grant will be used to bring two fellows to Washington, D.C. to directly engage in health care policy work on Capitol Hill.
“This project will strengthen the delivery of health care services by enhancing the preparation of health care social workers” says Natasha Lifton, senior program officer at The New York Community Trust. “This work also will fill a critical gap as the population lives longer and needs more care.”
“Social workers make up an important part of our nation’s health care system, ensuring thousands of consumers each year get the best possible health care both in the hospital and when recovering at home,” said NASW CEO and NASW Foundation President Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “We are excited The New York Community Trust has renewed the grant and CSWE and NASW will continue working together to ensure social workers shape and improve our nation’s health care for generations to come.”
CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey, PhD, MSW, added, “We are grateful for the NYCT’s continued support of Social Work HEALS and the opportunity to continuing partnering with NASW. Social Work HEALS is particularly impactful because it targets every level of the social work profession, from baccalaureate students to post-doctoral policy fellows. We expect that this will build a pipeline of social work leaders who can transform all aspects of health care—from direct practice to policy—to better meet the needs of underserved populations.”
The New York Community Trust supports an array of effective nonprofits that help make New York City a vital and secure place to live, learn, work, and play, while building permanent resources for the future. Two couples, Robert and Ellen Popper and Lois and Samuel Silberman, created permanent funds in The Trust to make the field of social work more effective by using scholarships and training. The New York Community Trust combines part of their gifts to fund this program.
The New York Community Trust grant allows NASW, CSWE and 10 partner schools to provide field instruction, course work and leadership opportunities so more social workers are ready to become a key part the U.S. health care delivery system and provide better services to clients. Social workers are trained to provide culturally competent, evidence-based practice in health care settings.
NASW and CSWE also use the grant to foster the next generation of social work academic and practice leaders by developing five-year partnerships with the 10 schools. Through funding at the baccalaureate and master’s levels, about 200 students will have the opportunity to take part in education and training, connect with peers, advocate for policy issues, and practice as a member of an interprofessional health care team.
For instance, more than 40 social work students who take part in the program came to Washington, D.C. in October 2015 to meet with social workers engaged in health care policy and learn about health care legislation important to social workers, including the Improving Access to Mental Health Care Act of 2015. These students also arranged visits with Congressional staffers to discuss social work and health care-related legislative issues.
NASW and CSWE will host the next summit of program participants in 2017.
“We are delighted The New York Community Trust is showing leadership and vision by investing in the social work profession,” McClain said. “This grant is already making an impact by giving social workers in the program a chance to truly have an opportunity to influence our nation’s health care policy and improve the health and well-being of millions of people.”