Grant helps create Social Work HEALS

Scholarships, fellowships will advance health care training, education.

Social Work HEALS (Healthcare, Education and Leadership Scholars) is a collaborative effort that aims to strengthen the health care social work workforce in the U.S. by awarding social workers at the bachelor’s level and above with scholarships and fellowships that advance their health care training and education.

Social Work HEALS is a joint effort by NASW and the Council on Social Work Education that was created in January and made possible by a five-year grant from the New York Community Trust. The grant was awarded to both organizations.

“NASW is honored to receive this grant in partnership with CSWE,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain. “As a result of this grant, social workers will be better able to help thousands more Americans get access to quality health care, including vulnerable populations such as the poor, the elderly and children.”

The Social Work HEALS advisory committee will meet periodically through April to review scholarship and fellowship applications. (March 31 was the deadline to apply.) Recipients will be notified in May.

The committee has 12 members from a variety of academic and professional social work backgrounds, including the U.S.

Department of Veterans Affairs and the Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare. NASW and CSWE selected the committee members.

“Through Social Work HEALS, we want to link scholarship and fellowship awardees to NASW chapters and create a community of practitioners who will embrace innovations for positive health care outcomes,” said Joan Levy Zlotnik, director of the NASW Social Work Policy Institute. “We want to build the next generation of social work leaders.”

Eight scholarships will be awarded to MSW/BSW students through Social Work HEALS. Four of the recipients will receive the NASW Foundation Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial scholarships. The Lyons scholarship is awarded to MSWs demonstrating an interest in, or experience with, health/mental health practice and a commitment to working in African-American communities.

Five students will be selected for doctoral fellowships, and will receive $15,625 and travel compensation to two social work health care conferences. One of the five will be selected as an NASW Foundation Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellow for 2015.

The Aron doctoral fellowship program provides partial support to social work doctoral candidates who are engaged in dissertation research in health care policy and practice.

One student at either the doctoral or postdoctoral level each year through the five-year grant will be selected for the Social Work HEALS policy fellowship. The fellow will pursue health policy work in Washington, D.C., and receive a package of up to $77,800 to cover stipend, relocation and travel.

Social Work HEALS will also select 10 schools of social work, and through grant funding will work to develop partnerships and programs with the schools to help create the next wave of social work practitioners and academic leaders.

The New York Community Trust is one of the largest private funders of New York City nonprofits.