Overview of Public Health Social Workers
Contact the Maternal and Child Health Section
4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A13
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1721
Twenty first century health issues are complex and multidimensional, requiring innovative responses across professions at all levels of society. Public health social workers draw on the rich traditions and complementary methods of these two fields to enhance effectiveness and promote health. In government agencies and local community-based settings, hospitals and schools, public health social workers make the connection between prevention and intervention from the individual to the whole population.
Public health social workers provide individuals, families, and groups with the psychosocial support needed to cope with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Services include advising family care givers, providing patient education and counseling, and making referrals for other services. Public health social workers may also provide care and case management or interventions designed to promote health, prevent disease, and address barriers to access to healthcare. Public health social workers can also help mobilize communities to address disparities and other related health issues.
Public health social work offers many opportunities to work with critical issues such as: domestic violence, depression, elder abuse, child abuse, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, family dysfunction, teenage pregnancy and children with special health care needs.
Services provided by public health social workers include:
- short term counseling, education
- group work
- consultation and community resource linkage
- service coordination
- emergency response/behavior health/crisis interventions to local/state emergencies
Public health social workers serve many populations such as:
- women of childbearing age
- pregnant women
- infants & toddlers
- children and adolescents
- children with special health care needs
- individuals with health risks
- people with infectious diseases
- people with chronic disease
- elderly people with health care needs
- nursing home facilities