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Academy Chair Academy Chair-Elect

Lynn Jackson


Suzanne Boyd



Social Work's Scope of Practice and Role
in Interprofessional Healthcare

Role of Social Work in Interdisciplinary Health Care

Social Workers practice in a variety of public and private healthcare settings, many are licensed for independent practice. Social workers are often frontline providers of services and licensed clinical social workers, comprise one of the core professional groups providing direct mental health services in our country. Social works perspective in health care is rooted in its traditional biopsychosocial model of understanding human functioning and the core concept of the person in-situation. Through this dual perspective, social work is dedicated to helping individuals, families, groups and communities with their healthcare issues and advocating for societal forces that promote the goals of an integrated, accessible, acceptable and accountable healthcare delivery system in our nation. Social works practice knowledge is based on the integration of biological, psychological and socio-cultural theories of human functioning in health and in illness and is guided by social works values and ethics. In healthcare settings, social work services include the whole spectrum of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and promotion of wellness and strength through various psychosocial, psycho-educational and brief and long-term psychotherapies. The roles of Social Work in interdisciplinary health care would include:

  • Providing direct diagnostic and psychological and social treatment services to individuals, couples, families, and groups;
  • Contributing to the interdisciplinary teams assessment formulations and treatment planning;
  • Collaborating with other members of the interdisciplinary team in the implementation of the treatment plans;
  • Coordinating and mobilizing institutional and community resources for the enhancement of the individuals, families, groups and communities in managing their health issues;
  • Promoting the concept of wellness with full attention to the principles of prevention;
  • Advocating for patients' rights and responsibilities; and
  • Contributing to the excellence of health education and practice by promoting rigorous and holistic approaches to research with attention to the interactional dynamics of biological, psychological and social factors.