Primer on micro practice in social work in health care: Context, skills, interventions, and best practices

Judith L.M. McCoyd, Toba Schwaber Kerson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Since the earliest days of the specialization, social work practice in health care has aimed to help patients and family members manage the symptoms of illness or trauma in ways that maximize their well-being and independence. Nevertheless, the world of social work practice in health settings (from health clinics and hospitals through community agencies) is changing as a result of rapid technological developments and subsequent changes in health policy and health care organization. New policies and organizational structures such as the “medical homes” established by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, 2010) will create opportunities for health social workers as care navigators, behaviorists, and other roles that provide services long identified with health social work (McCabe & Sullivan, 2015). New catch phrases such as “integrated behavioral health” now label what medical social workers have been doing since the specialization began. Although new medical technologies have opened new areas for social work practice, such as genetic testing for cancer risk and work with individuals who are changing gender, traditional positions in social work departments in health systems have declined due to the challenges of defining social work’s benefit in pure economic terms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSocial Work in Health Settings
Subtitle of host publicationPractice in Context
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781317409120
ISBN (Print)9781138924352
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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