Cannon Fellowship Program in Integrated Healthcare

What is the Cannon Fellowship in Integrated Healthcare?
Press Coverage of The Cannon Fellowship

Who may apply?

What is Integrated Healthcare (IHC)?

Why should I apply for the Cannon Fellowship Program?

What will I be doing if I’m selected as a Cannon Fellow?

What is the application process?

Will the program continue after 2015-2016?

Who is Ida Cannon

Who are the 2017-18 Cannon Fellows?

What is the Cannon Fellowship in Integrated Healthcare?

  • This is a federally-funded program that will support 30 students during each academic year 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 to complete Concentration Field Placements (second year field placements) in approved Integrated Healthcare (IHC) settings

  • This federal funding is the result of President Barack Obama’s special White House Initiative called “Now is the Time to Do Something About Gun Violence.”

Five days after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, President Obama announced that Vice President Biden would lead an effort to develop a set of concrete policy proposals for reducing gun violence.

Along with efforts to curb gun violence, The White House Initiative ensures quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people, which is why the Initiative is funding efforts to identify at-risk youth ages 16 to 25 by training social workers to serve on integrated health care teams in community settings.

For more information on the “Now is the Time” White House Initiative, please visit the website.

  • Concentration field placement settings will integrate health care and behavioral health care, and serve the needs of youth ages 16 to 25.

  • Fellowships will be granted after a competitive application process, and students must apply to be considered

  • The Fellowship will provide successful applicants with stipends of $10,000 during the year of their Concentration Field Placement 

Students enrolled in the School of Social Work may receive one (1) University or School-funded stipend and various tuition scholarships simultaneously.  However, in the event that a student participating in a School of Social Work degree or certificate program is offered more than one University or School-Funded stipend, they must choose one.  School-funded stipends include but are not necessarily limited to non-tuition stipend payments through the Office of Admissions and the Cannon fellowship.

Press Coverage of The Cannon Fellowship

 These social work students are working to prevent gun violence”, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, October 9, 2015

Who may apply?

The Fellowship supports Concentration (second year) field placements. 

To be eligible to apply, students must:

  • Have a strong commitment to a career in Integrated Healthcare
  • Applications will be accepted from incoming Direct Practice second year MSW students or Advanced Standing MSW students who are planning a concentration field placement in the fall of the upcoming school year.

NOTE:  Students receiving a stipend or students in paraprofessional programs receiving tuition support in the BHWET Program must be a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national of the United States, or a foreign national who possesses a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States. Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible to participate.  A student on L2 Visa does not meet the above requirements, even if the student has a valid work permit.

What is Integrated Healthcare (IHC)?

  • Integrated Healthcare offers coordinated medical, mental health, and substance abuse care.  Medical and behavioral health (mental health/substance abuse) providers work as a team to coordinate assessment, treatment, and follow-up for mental and physical health conditions
  • Traditional medical practice only addresses people’s physical health needs.  Mental health and substance abuse have traditionally been treated as separate issues handled by specialists in those fields 
  • The best health care treats the whole person, and can address mental health or substance abuse needs if they develop, in addition to treating physical conditions
  • Systems of care are rapidly changing.  Work in contemporary health care systems is multidisciplinary and social workers play an essential and increasingly valued role on these teams
  • Social workers are needed on integrated health care teams.  Social workers on these teams will employ a holistic approach to social work practice which is strengths-based and person-centered

Why should I apply for the Cannon Fellowship Program?

  • The Affordable Care Act is creating new and plentiful opportunities for social workers trained in interdisciplinary approaches to pursue careers in integrated health care 
  • Students who complete the Integrated Healthcare Certificate will be uniquely prepared to bridge the current gap between health care providers and patient needs in coordinated systems of care as they will gain hands-on experience working in integrated health care settings  
  • Any student in Direct Practice and pursuing the IHC Certificate may wish to explore a career in the rapidly expanding and exciting field of integrated health care

What will I be doing if I’m selected as a Cannon Fellow?

Cannon Fellows will:

  • Complete the Integrated Healthcare Certificate in the Direct Practice Concentration in the MSW program
  • Receive extra training on integrated health care topics, for example, through attending 8 mandatory monthly seminars and appropriate local conferences
  • Complete their Concentration (second year) Field Placement in community-based agencies, hospital systems, and health care practices alongside doctors, residents, nurses, medical social workers, and other health care providers to meet the behavioral health care needs of patients and their families.

What is the application process?

  • Applications will be submitted electronically here.
  • Applications must include:
  • Your complete resume in legible font and formatting
  • Your transcript (unofficial is acceptable for current Pitt students)
  • A two-page essay describing your interest in integrated health care and your commitment to a career in integrated health care (essay must be single spaced, with 1 inch margins, in 11-point Arial, 12 point Times New Roman, or equivalent font).
  • A listing of your sources of financial support from the School of Social Work and the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Two letters of recommendation from professionals who are familiar with your abilities, and your commitment to integrated health care.  Faculty members, field instructors, or employers are good choices for such letters.
  • A completed Request for Concentration Field Placement form.
  • Declaration of Intent for IHC

Will the program continue after 2015-2016?

  • Yes.  Cannon Fellowships supporting concentration field placements in integrated health care settings will be offered for two more  academic years:
  • 2016-2017
  • 2017-2018

For questions about the Cannon Fellowship Program, email this address:

Who is Ida Cannon? 

Ida Cannon (1877-1960)

In 1905, Ida Maud Cannon went to work for Dr. Richard Cabot at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Having graduated from the Boston School for Social Work, Cannon came to "make medical care effective" and "cure consumption". In 1907, Cannon was named "Head Worker" and, in 1915, "Chief of Social Service", establishing the first organized social work department in a hospital. She retired from the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1945.

Begun in the outpatient clinics, Social Services focused on patients with tuberculosis (the scourge of the era), with neurological problems, with venereal disease, unmarried pregnant girls, and children with orthopedic problems. Travelling extensively, Cannon brought her ideas to hospitals throughout the United States. She helped develop a standardized program for training medical social workers. In 1918 Cannon founded the American Association of Hospital Social Workers.

Trained in nursing and social work, Cannon insisted that social workers needed specialized medical knowledge along with firm grounding in casework. She struggled with what to measure, the right to document social work activity in the patient's medical chart, how to collaborate with physicians and nurses, while insisting that the affluent suburbs not dump their sickest, neediest patients on the inner city hospitals. She studied the effects of occupation on disease and worried that in the immensity of individual needs, there would be insufficient time and energy for social action.

"The medical Social Service movement", she said in a 1930 address, "recognizes that there should be within the hospital ... someone definitely assigned to represent the patient's point of view ... and to work out with the physician, an adaptation of the medical treatment in the light of the patient's social condition".

On Ida Maud Cannon's desk stood a picture of the dodo bird from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland with the quotation, "the best way to explain it is to do it!"  (Source: NASW Foundation)


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