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The New York Community Trust Renews Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars Grant

The New York Community Trust (NYCT), one of the nation's largest community foundations, has renewed a grant with the 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 health care 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," says 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."

"Social workers play a vital role in the nation's health care system, helping thousands of people each day get the best possible care and successfully reintegrate back into their daily lives after experiencing illness," says Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW, NASW's CEO and NASW Foundation President. "Other social workers work to help shape this nation's health care 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 health care 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. health care 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 health care social workers at the bachelor's degree, master's degree, doctoral, and postdoctoral levels. This support helps to ensure health care 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, DC 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 health care, 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 NYCT'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.

Source: NASW