Pathways for Social Work leadership as a LEND trainee
By increasing the numbers of professional social workers in general and underrepresented minorities specifically to work in underserved communities, there is a desire to expand and develop integrated healthcare models for working with children and adolescents with special health care needs.
The aim of the collaboration between the School of Social Work and the LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Center at the University of Pittsburgh is the creation of a unique training pathway focused on youth with special needs within the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work’s Integrated Healthcare Certificate (IHC) Program, taking advantage of an existing Health Resources and Services Administration funded training program (RSA G02HP27994-01-00). The existing IHC Program funds graduate students in social work by utilizing concentration field placement training sites to provide background knowledge and clinical training for working in integrated care settings with children, adolescents, and transitional age youth.
Currently graduate social work students have limited awareness of and receive nominal leadership training pertinent to youth with special needs. The aims of our collaboration are to:
- Prepare graduate social work students specializing in direct practice with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with individuals, families, groups, and communities in a variety of institutional and community-based health-related settings;
- Prepare graduate social work students for advocacy and leadership;
- Increase graduate social work students' ability to function in interdisciplinary settings providing family centered care; and
- Increase the number of students focused on healthcare social work and children and youth with special needs as a career.
By leveraging the relationship between LEND and the School of Social Work’s existing Integrated Healthcare training program, we can enhance the scope and impact of this pathway in general to our graduate social work students and in particular to increase diversity in the field of individuals with special needs and increase the role of social work in our LEND Program.