Professor Attends White House Briefing

October 01, 2013

Wheelock Prof. Nicole DubusNicole Dubus, Assistant Professor in Social Work at Wheelock College, Boston MA, was  invited to attend the White House briefing entitled, "Addressing the Social Determinants of Health in a New Era: The Role of Social Work Education."

The briefing was a "call to arms" that recognized the important work of social workers in the healthcare field with the Affordable Care Act seeking to bring together people who can become active and integral members of a new healthcare advisory team. At the briefing, Marcia Brand, the Deputy Administrator at Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), reached out to the social workers to be partners in the creation of a new healthcare system that is patient-centered, effective, accessible, and patient-led.  Brand's presentation examined how Social Work "Got it" first.  "Social workers for decades have foreshadowed the healthcare enterprise taking shape today. The field was among the first to deliver team-based and interprofessional care." And her final point, "Social workers provided a template for the emerging models of patient-centered care."

Officials from the Department of Health and Human Services—including Aaron Bishop, from the Administration for Community Living, and Roslyn Holliday Moore, from the Office of Behavioral Health Equity, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—looked to social work professionals for their ability to understand complex systems to help create an integrative health model.

Also at the briefing, Anand Parekh, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Stephane Philogene, the Associate Director of the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), underscored the President's high priority on developing integrated behavioral and medical healthcare through the allocation of grants for developing best practice.

Paolo del Vecchio, the Director for the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA, and Brian Altman, the Legislative Director at SAMHSA, emphasized that the Affordable Care Act is committed to meeting the mental health needs of all healthcare consumers and noted the crucial role social workers have and will continue to play.

As the coordinator of the new Medical Social Work graduate certificate at Wheelock College, Dubus is creating a dynamic program that prepares students for the challenging work ahead as social workers in the healthcare field. As Marcia Brand stated, "This is a historic time in our country, no less historic than the creation of Medicare." Wheelock College is well positioned and proud to be on the cutting edge of this historic moment for our nation and for the social work profession.

For more information on Wheelock's graduate social work programs, please visit:

www.wheelock.edu/academics/graduate/social-work

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