Associate Professor Victoria Stanhope Speaks at Congressional Briefing

Associate Professor Victoria Stanhope participated in a panel discussion on June 24 as part of a congressional briefing about the role of social work in integrated primary care. As health care providers adapt to changes made by the Affordable Care Act, social workers will have new and expanded roles in a reorganized health care system. Better integration of primary and mental health care will require collaboration across systems and among multi-disciplinary teams.

Stanhope addressed core concepts and values of the field that make social workers essential to—and an excellent fit for—a redesigned health care system:

  1. person-in-environment perspective;
  2. self-determination of clients;
  3. relationships at the center of care delivery;
  4. the field’s explicit commit to social justice;
  5. deep expertise in community health and substance abuse services; and
  6. training in case management.

Stanhope noted social work students will need new training at policy and practice levels and that schools of social work are developing new curricula and field training to prepare students for health care reform. The NYU Silver School of Social Work has been at the forefront of training students as it was one of 13 schools to receive a behavioral health training grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration in 2013. This funding has allowed NYU Silver to provide stipends to MSW students; develop an integrated classroom-field experience with two agencies; and offer tailored courses in oral health, community health and prevention, and helping peer services.

Other speakers on Stanhope’s panel were:

  • Virna Little, Senior Vice President, Psychosocial Services and Community Affairs, The Institute for Family Health;
  • David Johnson, Director, Health Care Programs, Government Business Division, WellPoint Insurance; and
  • Alexander Ross, Senior Advisor for Behavioral Health, Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services.

Darla Coffey, CEO and president of the Council on Social Work Education, monitored the panel, and Susan Kosche Vallem, social work professor emerita at Wartburg College, gave closing remarks. The briefing was sponsored by the Action Network for Social Worker Education and Research (ANSWER) Coalition in cooperation with the Congressional Social Work Caucus.

Read Stanhope’s full comments (PDF).