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Editor’s Note — Interprofessional Practice Pumped
By Marianne Mallon
Social Work Today
Vol. 19 No. 5 P. 4

Social work has always been a profession of collaboration with other disciplines from medicine to nursing to law and beyond. This month’s issue is testimony to the value and importance of the tradition of social workers’ practice in multiple and diverse settings and their contributions in areas such as juvenile justice, health care, indeed all of multiple priorities identified in this issue’s feature by contributor Sue Coyle, MSW, on the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work.

The cover story by contributor and editorial advisor Christina Reardon, MSW, LSW, on the evolution of social work’s role in the juvenile justice system is one of foundational, revolutionary work for the protection of children, interrupted by a period of interference from law enforcement, prosecutors, and political grandstanders, all cast with the shadow of gender politics leaving the female-dominated social work profession to focus mostly on the ancillary role of delinquency prevention.

Fortunately, a Supreme Court 2005 decision in Roper v. Simmons abolishing the death penalty for crimes by youth under the age of 18 and its subsequent decisions to abolish life without parole sentences for juveniles signaled a new era of reforms in states and localities nationwide. According to Laura Abrams, PhD, a professor and chair of the department of social welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, interviewed for the cover story, “we [social workers] need to restore our rightful place with youth who have been in contact with the law.”

Another feature highlighting the fairly recent elevated emphasis on interprofessional practice and education focuses on professional development and supervision. Contributor Christiane Petrin Lambert, MA, MSW, LICSW, interviews educators on what social workers share with and learn from colleagues in other disciplines.

Finally, another must read is the feature by contributor Lindsey Getz on a new, first-of-its-kind health social work department at Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. It combines medical and social work knowledge and skills to teach and learn from medical students and social workers in the same setting. It exemplifies the intersection of multiple professions including medicine, social work, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, and more. Hopefully, it is model for the future.

Enjoy the issue!

Marianne Mallon