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CISWH’s Year of Transformation and Global Impact

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Celebrating Social Work Month this March, we put a spotlight on CISWH. Social workers play a crucial role in healthcare by bridging the gap between medical care and social services to ensure that individuals and communities receive quality, affordable, holistic care. By providing support, advocacy, and resources to patients and families facing medical challenges, social workers help others navigate the complexity of our healthcare and social services systems. They also contribute to research and policy development by working to address social determinants of health and promote health equity. It is important we, as a society, continue to recognize the vital contributions of social workers in health and the transformative impact of their work.

As we enter Social Work Month this March, we take a moment to reflect on CISWH’s commitment to social work and health over the past year. CISWH, in collaboration with dedicated professionals and leaders, has conducted transformative research and launched initiatives that will leave a lasting impact on the intersection of social work, health, and public health.

Boston Children’s Hospital

Boston University School of Social Work (BUSSW) Prof. and Research Core Director Christina Lee is leading a research project with Boston Children’s Hospital that examines the impact of social workers on health outcomes for children and families in Child Protective Services. Under her guidance, a team of BUSSW faculty analyzed data trends in the utilization of the Children’s Hospital emergency department, social work services, and referral patterns. As the project advances into the data analysis phase, findings are expected to be unveiled in late 2024.

The Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Advance Care for Children with Medical Complexity (CMC CoIIN)

In 2023 CISWH concluded its work on the HRSA-funded CoIIN program for children with medical complexity. The CoIIN brought together groups of interdisciplinary teams of families, social workers, medical providers, policy makers, and payers to develop strategies to improve child quality, family well-being, and cost-effectiveness of care. The culmination of this 5-year project resulted in the publication of several papers in the journal Pediatrics, showcasing the team’s significant contributions in increasing access to care for children with medical complexities.

Supporting Replication (SURE) of Housing Interventions in the Ryan White HIV AIDS Program

In 2023 the SURE Housing Initiative was funded to implement and evaluate housing-related interventions for people with HIV who experience unstable housing. Through collaborative efforts with project partners, 10 community organizations were chosen nationwide to implement housing interventions for individuals with HIV. As the selected organizations prepared to implement the intervention, the SURE team conducted a comprehensive training on how to evaluate the multi-site project at the first all-site meeting in Washington D.C.

Visit to Kenya

In July Ellie Zambrano, CISWH executive director, BUSSW Prof. Margaret Lombe, and MSW students traveled to Kenya to collaborate with Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), the Nymbani Children’s Home Orphans, and the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya on new programming. The goal of the trip was to learn more about refugee experiences in eastern Africa and the role social workers can play in improving the lives of displaced communities.

Project IMPACT
BUSSW Prof. Astraea Augsberger, along with Wendy Zeitlin from Montclair State University and Trupti Rao from the Westchester Institute of Human Development, received a National Institute of Health grant to expand the reach and funding for their successful Project IMPACT (Improving Parenting Achievements Together). This intensive parent training program, tailored for parents with intellectual disabilities in the child welfare system, demonstrated success in preserving families compared to standard services. Prof. Augsberger is now conducting learning sessions with policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to share findings and shape the next steps in research, practice and policy advocacy.

The Prevention of Violence Against Young Children in South Africa

BUSSW Profs. Margaret Lombe and Lenette Azzi-Lessing recently completed a one-year research project in which the team identified community-driven and evidence-based interventions to address violence against young children in South African communities. The team will now share their evidence globally in the hopes of mainstreaming these interventions.

Fellows Program

In 2023 CISWH established a Graduate and Doctoral Fellows Program to help prepare social work and public health leaders for influential careers in the field. CISWH fellows conduct research, create policy briefs, support strategic planning, and much more.

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