SOCW 0623 - Integrated Behavioral Health

Credits: 3

This course is offered as an elective for students interested in gaining social work competencies that prepare them for working in integrative behavioral healthcare. "Integrative behavioral healthcare" is a conceptual framework that teams behavioral health clinicians and substance abuse counselors with medical practitioners and/or public health workers. Varying degrees of coordination and integration across disciplines can be accomplished in medical settings, but also in community-based programs, jails, and more recently in police and fire departments. Part of recent initiatives to build closer coordination across disciplines or fully integrated teams has derived from the knowledge that a vast majority of patients' presenting problems in primary healthcare settings are related to behavioral or environmental factors. This is true even when these presenting problems do not rise to the level of mental health conditions described in the DSM.

As social workers enter this new arena of practice, there is increasing recognition by medical personnel of the value of specialized social work knowledge and skills in reaching diverse populations and addressing complex patient needs. This course introduces social workers to basic public health concepts and methods of addressing the health and wellness of entire communities. A core focus of this course is on acquisition of knowledge and skills necessary for social workers to effectively team with various other disciplines in health care and community settings. Learning occurs in the context of assigned readings, on-line experiences which include videos and mini-lectures, on-line journaling and group discussions, and assignments that encourage students to view themselves in the role of a behavioral health specialists in fast-paced multi-disciplinary settings.

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