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The New York Community Trust renews Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS) grant

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The New York Community Trust (NYCT), one of the nation’s largest community foundations, has renewed a grant with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to continue the Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS) program initiative for another two years.

 The aim of the $2.5-million project is to educate and train social workers to bolster the nation’s healthcare delivery system. The decision to renew the grant will allow the program to run its full five years.

“Social Work HEALS gives social workers a comprehensive experience in health care by connecting practice, research, and policy,” said CSWE President and CEO Darla Spence Coffey. “This approach — with a focus on both practice and policy — is essential to ensuring quality care for underserved populations. We are grateful for the NYCT’s continued support of this program that will prepare social workers to collaborate interprofessionally and improve health-care systems and policies.”

 HEALS scholars stand at Capitol“Social workers play a vital role in the nation’s healthcare system, helping thousands of people each day get the best possible care and successfully reintegrate back into their daily lives after experiencing illness,” said Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, NASW’s CEO and NASW Foundation President.  “Other social workers work to help shape this nation’s healthcare policies to ensure everyone has access to good health care.”  

“NASW is excited that the New York Community Trust has renewed the grant with NASW and CSWE and the funds will be used to ensure social workers continue to work with doctors, nurses and other health care professions to improve healthcare delivery.” 

The HEALS initiative allows the NASW Foundation, CSWE and 10 partner schools to provide educational support and enhancements and leadership opportunities so more social workers are ready to become a key part in the U.S. healthcare delivery system and provide better services to clients.  To date, 160 scholarships and fellowships have been awarded through the HEALS grant to support education and training of healthcare social workers at the bachelors, master’s degree, doctoral and postdoctoral levels.  This support helps to ensure healthcare practice excellence and expand social work research and policy on the improvement of the delivery of health care services.

As part of the program, HEALS Scholars take part in a Student Summit each year in Washington, D.C. to learn about and take part in the policy-making process. At the March 2018 Student Summit, 48 HEALS bachelor’s degree and master's degree scholars heard personal stories from social workers in healthcare, the former HEALS Policy Fellow, and social workers who work on Capitol Hill about the important role of social work in shaping and implementing health policy.   

The two-day Summit concluded on Capitol Hill where students met with their representatives to discuss (H.R. 129) The Improving Access to Mental Health Act and (H.R. 1484) the Social Worker Safety Act and Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The grant also provides training and networking opportunities to the HEALS Scholars’ field instructors and supports the 10 partner schools to hold policy events focused on the intersection of health care and social work across the country.

Funds for Social Works HEALS are derived from The New York Community Trust’s Robert and Ellen Popper and Lois and Samuel Silberman funds. These two couples created permanent funds in The Trust to make the field of social work more effective by using scholarships and training.

Founded in 1952, the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) is the national association for social work education in the United States. Its members include more than 750 accredited baccalaureate and master’s degree social work programs, as well as individual social work educators, practitioners, and agencies dedicated to advancing quality social work education. Through its many initiatives, activities, and centers, CSWE supports quality social work education and provides opportunities for leadership and professional development, so that social workers play a central role in achieving the profession’s goals of social and economic justice. CSWE’s Commission on Accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the United States and its territories. Learn more at

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.