Social Work
Section Newsletter
Summer 2005

Notes from the Chair

Hello, Members!

I trust you are preparing for a glorious summer which includes a
wonderful vacation for you! In our giving yet stressful lives we must make sure we take care of ourselves.

The leadership of the Section had its conference call May 11, 2005, and we are off and running in planning for this year's Annual Meeting in exciting New Orleans. The theme of this year's meeting is Evidence Based Policy and Practice. The Social Work Section is to sponsor some exciting sessions along this line. Deb Stokes has announced that the final version of the Public Health Standards will be released during our

We are very excited to announce that The Association of State and Territorial Public Health Social Workers will be having its annual meeting in conjunction with APHA, Nov. 4-5, 2005, to be exact. ASTPHSW is planning sessions on such topics as social work leadership in public health, standards and competencies, public health social work's role in nutrition and obesity, disaster response, suicide, and other topics. Please plan to attend both conferences. It is a wonderful opportunity for the members of both organizations to connect. We want all the public health social work advocates to come together. For further information about the ASTPHSW Conference, please contact Deb Stokes at <>.

I am also proud to announce that one of our most active section members, Ed Saunders, is leaving for a teaching assignment in China. We will miss him in New Orleans, but he will be back next year in full swing.

Have a wonderful summer, and thanks for all you do!


Social Work Congress 2005

This winter, a number of social workers gathered for the 2005 Social Work Congress sponsored by the National Association of Social Workers to adopt imperatives for an action agenda for the next decade. The final imperatives adopted on March 18, 2005, are listed below. Following is a part of a letter NASW Executive Director Elizabeth Clark sent to participants.

"... Several important steps are planned to complete the work of the Congress. Strategy Teams, composed of Congress participants, will be meeting to identify action plans to advance each of the imperatives..... We have created an e-mail box for any additional input you may have as the work of the Congress moves forward. Your comments will be conveyed to the Strategy Teams. The e-mail address is <> ....."

The Social Work Imperatives for the Next Decade developed by the National Association of Social Workers and adopted at the Social Work Congress 2005, March 18, 2005, are as follows.

• Assure excellence in aging knowledge, skills, and competencies at all levels of social work education, practice, and research.

• Participate in politics and policy where major decisions are being made about behavioral health.

• Assure a qualified social work labor force to serve children.

• Take the lead in advocating for quality universal healthcare.

• Elevate the public’s awareness of the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of social work practice in healthcare.

• Address the impact of racism, other forms of oppression, social injustice, and other human rights violations through social work education and practice.

• Increase the value proposition of social work by raising standards and increasing academic rigor of social work education programs.

• Mobilize the social work profession to actively engage in politics, policy, and social action, emphasizing the strategic use of power.

• Continuously acknowledge, recognize, confront, and address pervasive racism within social work practice at the individual, agency, and institutional levels.

• Strengthen social work’s ability to influence the corporate and political landscape at the federal, state, and local levels.

• Promote culturally competent social work interventions and research methodologies in the areas of social justice, well-being, and cost benefit outcomes.

• Connect research and practice through partnerships among researchers, the field, and communities.

Election Reminder

This is a reminder that the APHA 2005 Section Elections began May 13, 2005, and will end on June 17, 2005. If you have not done so already, PLEASE VOTE. You should have received an e-mail notification on approximately May 13 with the subject line "APHA Voting Information Enclosed." It contains voting instructions, including your APHA member ID, your unique voting PIN and a direct link to the voting site. Click on the link in that e-mail and vote.

If you need assistance, you can go to the voting site: <> and click on the "Help" button on the login page to access the help screen. or call (866) 720-4357 to speak with an Election Service Corp. customer service representative.


Ed Saunders to China

For the first time in 18 years, Social Work Section member (and past-Chair) Ed Saunders will not be attending the APHA meeting this year. Instead, Ed will be living and teaching in Wuhan, China. Ed was invited by Wuhan University to teach in its new Social Work program. Departments of Social Work in mainland China universities are a relatively recent development. The profession of social work is new to mainland China. The Council of Social Work Education in China (much like CSWE in the United States) was only founded in 1994 as universities began to organize professional departments of social work. In order to help the new departments of social work in Chinese universities, social work educators from Hong Kong and other “western” programs are being asked to lend their expertise to the new programs.

Ed is completing his 20th year at The University of Iowa School of Social Work and has been director of its BASW program for the past four years. Because of his knowledge of both BASW and MSW curricula, he was asked to consult and teach at Wuhan University in the Fall. As part of his teaching duties, he will teach a comparative health care policy course to BA and MSW students at Wuhan U. Ed writes: “Naturally, I’ll be sharing the U.S. model of public health, including information about public health social work and its important contribution to the health and social service system in the U.S. If you have information that would help present this model in a comparative-fashion, please send me information. My e-mail is <>. I hope to share my experiences in Wuhan at the APHA Annual Meeting in Fall 2006. During my stay in Wuhan, I’ll be actively touring health and human service agencies there and learning from them. I’ll be in Wuhan from mid-August until mid-January.”

CSWE Call for Papers Closes July 7, 2005

Members of APHA are often also members of CSWE. Thus, this is a reminder that the deadline for submitting abstracts to CSWE is July 7, 2005. Two symposia of particular interest to Section members are the Health Care Symposium and the Community Organization & Social Administration Symposium.

The Health Care Symposium focuses on thinking, research, practice and education for social work given trends and issues in health care and health care delivery. Abstracts are invited in the following areas: (1) education for culturally competent practice; (2) innovations in practice; (3) educating for inter-disciplinary collaboration; (4) education on public health, maternal & child health, genetics; (5) incorporating the Healthy People 2010 goals in curricula; and (6) the health care environment. Other topics will be considered as well. The abstracts can be submitted online at <>.

The Community Organization & Social Administration Symposium is seeking proposals relevant to the advancement of social administration and community organizing/development. The overarching theme for 2006 is social justice though social reform. This symposium addresses the application and evaluation of techniques in administration, development, management, organizing, and planning that promote social justice. The abstacts can be submitted online at <>.

If you are interested in submitting an abstract to either symposium, please refer to the guidelines available from CSWE on the APM Web site: <>.

Public Health/Social Work Programs - A Review

Editor's note: The following is a partial report of a study conducted in 2003 of public health social work programs in the country. It is included in this issue of the newsletter particularly for the benefit of those universities looking to develop new or modify existing MSW/MPH programs. There are currently approximately 18 combined programs. Thanks to Ken Jaros for this report and to Tammy Thomas, MSW, MPH, and Charles Howard, MSW, PhD, for conducting the study.

In early 2003 Charles Howard, MSW, PhD, from Washington, D.C., approached the Center for MCH Leadership in Public Health Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh regarding the possibility of developing a presentation on Public Health Social Work Leadership for the November 2003 APHA Annual Meeting. As part of the preparation for this presentation, the Center conducted a brief telephone survey of selected directors of MSW/MPH programs at several universities. There are a significant number of these types of program around the country, and additional joint programs are being planned. The survey was conducted by Tammy Thomas, MSW, MPH, a research associate and a former trainee at the Center for MCH leadership at Pittsburgh. She identified several of the most visible and most veteran programs and conducted telephone interviews with the program directors. These interviews focused on such issues as: size of the program; administrative structure between the social work/public health schools; types of students involved; field placement arrangement; student advising; leadership training opportunities; job opportunities; and others. This information was used by Charles Howard in the APHA presentation in San Francisco, and was also shared with the programs that completed interviews. We are hopeful that this information might provide a catalyst for developing a system of communication and information sharing among MSW/MPH programs.

The programs differ on how the students complete the dual or concurrent programs. In some cases, students take classes in both departments each term to facilitate ongoing contact with both schools. Some programs are more sequential.

Two programs are dual degree programs involving two different universities. Here students must apply to both, and the universities collaborate to make the program fit for students.

Type of student
The bulk of students are late 20s to early 30s, almost all have just a BA degree and the great majority have some experience, typically in some type of social service or health-related role. The programs do not seem to attract BSW graduates. The BSWs seem to to take advantage of their advanced standing and just get the MSW, not taking time for the MPH. The great majority of students are women, and with the exception of two of the programs, less than 20 percent of the students are minorities, even though many programs have made special efforts to reach out to minorities.

Part-time/Weekend & Evening
With one exception the programs do not fit well for the part-time student. The one program that does allow part-time students has a variety of options available, and these include weekend classes, off-campus classes, and others.

The availability of weekend/evening classes varied across the respondents, from many options in two programs to no weekend/evening classes in others. It should be noted that even for programs that do offer part-time and evening options, students could not complete the entire program using only these options.

Field Placements
Across all programs there appears to be considerable variety and flexibility in terms of the field placement requirements. Placements tend to vary based on student needs and can be clinical, research, policy, or community organizational. Often the public health placement was based on the student’s concentration in the MSW program. This seemed to vary from program to program depending on the number of field placement requirements. In some cases, the MSW field placement could also count as the MPH practicum. Only one program stipulated separate requirements for field placements.

Programs do require social work field placements meet CSWE requirements, but there does not seem to be any standardization for public health. In some cases, one of the MSW placements can serve as the PH practicum ,but this must be approved in advance. In at least one situation a total of three placement experiences are required. One program has a standing set of placements for the MSW/MPH track. In one program the second MSW placement must formally meet the MPH requirement for a placement. Placement sites include health departments, hospitals, HMOs, community-based clinics, Healthy Start, adolescent health programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention internships, and international health.

The field placement supervisors or preceptors in the agencies are mostly MSW as required by CSWE, but in at least two situations it is possible for another professional (MPH or other) to provide direct supervision and mentoring of the student under the guidance of an MSW field instructor.

Other “leadership” or special educational or training experiences
Several programs indicated students have opportunities for CDC and other types of internships. Certificate programs in women’s health, non-profit management, and gerontology are available at one of the locations. Another program mentioned certificates in mental health, planning, and injury/violence prevention. One respondent mentioned an interesting on-campus student health clinic in which each of the trainees participated.

At least four of the programs have some type of a seminar experience for the dual degree students. These range from weekly sessions in one program to twice a year in others. In those situations where a separate MPH practicum is required, it is preferable if the preceptor has an MPH, but this is not required.

Five of the projects provide opportunities for students to participate in learning experiences in conjunction with other MCH interdisciplinary leadership programs on campus. These opportunities range from attending occasional presentations and seminars to participating in a full year leadership program. One program offers a three-day workshop for all MCH trainees campus-wide, and this also includes two follow-up sessions during the year.

Type of essay, thesis or final project required for completion of the program
It seems that as part of the MPH requirement, some type of an essay, thesis, or final research paper is completed. In one case, however, only students in one specific MPH department are required to complete an essay. Two programs also require a research paper as part of the MSW requirement, either with a faculty member or with an outside fieldwork agency. Only one program requires students to complete a “portfolio,” although one other is planning to implement the portfolio concept in the near future. This will be required for all MSW students, not just the MSW/MPH.

Types of mentoring and advising provided to students by the academic faculty
In all cases students have advisors in both schools. One program has an additional field advisor, and in one the program director serves as an additional advisor. In at least two programs students must work with individual faculty members on a research project. In all cases there is a feeling that students have a lot of contact with their advisors, and there were no reports of confusion and/or redundancy in this arrangement.

Participation by community PHSW leaders in the planning, oversight, or actual implementation of the program
At least four of the programs involve social work and public health leaders on a program advisory committee. Pretty much all of the programs involve these types of individuals in classroom presentations. At least four of the programs use health department and social work experts as adjunct faculty in a variety of ways.

Types of job positions graduates are obtaining
Job positions are quite varied, with most reporting a large proportion of graduates going into macro level (administration, policy, planning, etc.) positions in public health agencies and similar systems. A significant proportion also seem to be moving into clinical positions. Two programs reported graduates going into the international health field.

For additional information, contact Kenneth Jaros at (412) 624-3161.

Message from your Editor

Another issue of the PHSW Section Newsletter is on its way. I want to thank those of you who contributed articles and/or bits of news.

I thought this might be a good time to explain a bit of the process of assembling the newsletter. There are three issues each year (January, May/June, and August/September). The January issue is usually a wrap-up from the Annual Meeting, and August/September is a preparation. That leaves May/June to provide updates on what is happening in the profession. Timing is always a challenge. I need to submit articles two-four weeks before they are published. So, if I have asked you to rush with articles, and then they don't appear for awhile, you will understand. Timeliness is often a challenge.

If you have suggestions as to what would make the Newsletter more useful, please let me know. I generally start collecting information for the "next issue" just as the "current issue" is being reviewed by APHA.

I hope you all enjoy your summer. Let me know what you are doing - either fun or professional (or when your activities cover both!).

Take care!