Certificate in Medical Social Work: Advocacy & Practice in Healthcare Settings

Medical Social Work Certificate at Wheelock

This 12-credit certificate program—structured so it can be completed in as little as one year—prepares social workers to work within the healthcare field in a variety of social work roles. It combines theoretical approaches with hands-on skills to prepare social workers for demanding and fast-paced healthcare environments.

This specialized graduate certificate program prepares social workers to excel in varied and demanding healthcare settings, such as:

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Skilled Nursing Facilities
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Hospices
  • Other medical settings

Our students learn best practices for working with children, families, and individuals facing medical challenges and how to become more effective advocates within healthcare organizations. By combining theoretical approaches with hands-on skill building, this program will prepare you for the complexities of working within the fast-paced healthcare field.

Growing Demand for Medical Social Workers

With rapid advances in medical technology and treatment has come a need for skilled practitioners who can evaluate the psychosocial functioning of patients and families, help them advocate for the most appropriate care, and intervene as necessary.

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which became law in 2010, includes provisions designed to promote the expansion of home- and community-based services, chronic disease prevention, and wellness programs. This expansion in healthcare access has created new career opportunities for social workers.

Across the healthcare field, there is great demand for social workers who can connect patients and families to necessary resources and supports; provide psychotherapy, supportive counseling, or grief counseling; or help patients expand and strengthen their network of social supports.

Required Courses

The program includes the following courses, all of which emphasize culturally relevant, strengths-based, and evidence-informed approaches to assessment and intervention. The program is designed so it can be completed in as little as one year of study.

COURSE COURSE DESCRIPTION SEMESTER OFFERED
Medical Social Work with Children, Individuals, and Families Through the Life Course This course covers  the life course from prenatal to gerontology and death and dying. Particular emphasis is on the psycho-socio-cultural aspects of health, health care delivery, and the role of social workers as advocates. Specialists in the field will present their perspectives and experiences. Fall & Spring
(3 weekend intensive)

U.S. Health Care Systems: Programs & Policies
This course examines the specific social service, health insurance, and government and institution/agency policies that social workers will need to master to be effective case managers, brokers, and coordinators in the medical setting. These include, but or not limited to: masshealth/medicare, social security, long term insurance, hospice, health care management organizations, national health care. Fall
(3 weekend intensive)
Culture, Health, Health Disparities and Human Rights This course examines the social, political, economic, and cultural determinants of health and health disparities in the United States and Globally. The interrelation among the concepts of oppression, discrimination, neighborhood design, community resources, eco-justice, power, privilege, health as a human right, will be examined on community and global levels. Spring
(3 weekend intensive)
One Course Relating to Grief Students can choose from the following:
• Bereavement Care
• Issues in Death and Dying
• Cross Cultural Perspective on Grief
Varied
(may also be offered during Summer Sessions)

Why Wheelock?

Wheelock College has led the way in promoting best practices for working with children and their families for 125 years. Wheelock is widely recognized for its outstanding early childhood education, social work, and human development and family studies programs. Faculty from these programs possess a wide range of expertise as well as a commitment to trans-disciplinary education and practice.  Participants in the Medical Social Work certificate program benefit from this diversity of knowledge and skill, as well as from Wheelock's commitment to human rights and social justice, embodied in its mission to improve the lives of children and their families.

Nicole Dubus, MSW, PhD, Assistant Professor of Social Work, is coordinator of the Graduate Certificate Program in Medical Social Work: Advocacy & Practice in Healthcare Settings.  Dr. Dubus has more than 25 years of social work experience in public and private settings.

Certificate Requirements

Applicants to the program must hold a Master of Social Work from a CSWE-accredited program or be in at least their second semester of Wheelock College's Master of Social Work program. They must also have completed 100 hours of experience in the health care/medical field prior to entering the certificate program. Exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the certificate coordinator.

Contact Us

To meet with an admissions counselor or to learn more, contact:
Office of Graduate Admissions
graduate@wheelock.edu
617-879-1114

If you are an employer who would like to learn about becoming a placement site for certificate students, please contact:
Dr. Nicole Dubus
ndubus@wheelock.edu
978-317-3088

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