Toward a Better Understanding of Social Workers on Integrated Care Delivery Teams

Investigators: Mark Fraser PhD, Erica Richman PhD, MSW and Erin Fraher PhD, MPP

Background: Given the growing number of social workers employed in the healthcare system and the diversity of roles they fill, it is critical to understand the responsibilities and capacity of social workers as healthcare shifts to team-based models of care, value-based payments, and population health approaches. With funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration, social workers in North Carolina are now being trained in Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH) where they are providing integrated care as part of inter-professional teams, including physicians, nurses and other health care providers. In this project, researchers will evaluate the role of the social workers in PCMHs by interviewing social work students in-training, their clinic-based supervisors, and their non-social work colleagues.

Study aims: Research questions will focus on understanding emerging roles for social workers in PCHMs, the knowledge and skills required of social workers, and the barriers and facilitators to deploying social workers on interprofessional teams.

Alignment with BHW priorities: HRSA has awarded grants to 62 masters-level social work programs (MSW) under the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training for Professionals program (several in NC). The grants fund stipends for MSW students preparing to work with children and youth in integrated care settings. This project will illuminate how social workers are being integrated into care teams in integrated delivery systems. It will also provide much needed information about how to modify curricula and continuing professional development to prepare social workers to work in new care delivery models.

Further work on this project is ongoing; more information on the current project can be found here. 

Project Products: 

Manuscripts

  • Fraser MW, Lombardi BM, Wu S, Zerden L, Richman EL, Fraher EP. Social Work in Integrated Primary Care: A Systematic Review. Submitted to PLOS ONE, 2016.

Research Briefs

Presentations, webinars, and refereed conference papers