Know your Social Work History: Pioneering Health Care for Children with Disabilities

Nurses & Social Workers from NY City’s After Care Polio Committees (1916)

A little unknown fact about me – one of my first scholarly interests as a future academic was and still is social welfare history; exploring the roots of the social work profession in the United States.  As a doctoral student at the University of Alabama’s (UA) School of Social Work, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Paul Stuart, a leading social welfare historian and, now, Professor of Social Work at Florida International University.  I took several classes with him about social welfare policy and historical research methodology.  Along with being my academic advisor and chair of my dissertation committee, he helped me to develop an interest in how the history of social work profession has a direct and meaningful influence on today’s social workers and social welfare agencies.  Through reading and research from my course work, I quickly learned that there was a gap in the social welfare history literature on the intersection of social work and public health in early 20th century in the United States.  Using my background in public health and social work, I developed a research topic which turned into my dissertation and the foundation of my interest in social welfare history – the history of health and social services for children with disabilities.

I write all this because I just had a second article published from my dissertation research:

Hitchcock, L. I., & Stuart, P. (2017). Pioneering Health Care for Children with Disabilities: Untold Legacy of the 1916 Polio Epidemic in the United States. Journal of Community Practice. Retrieved from 

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The Shared Case Study: An online activity for Interprofessional Teamwork

Natalie Curry, MSW

Natalie Curry, MSW

Natalie Curry, LCSW is a Clinical Instructor at Missouri State University’s (MSU) School of Social Work. She has been on the faculty with MSU for two years and prior to that was an adjunct instructor for MSU, Drury University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to entering academia, her practice background includes working with individuals who were homeless in various capacities, inpatient psychiatric care, and behavioral health consulting in primary care.  In this post, she writes about an online, interprofessional learning activity that she helped to develop and implement with colleagues at MSU You can follow Natalie on Twitter at @natalielcsw

Last fall, there was considerable interest around interprofessional education in the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) at Missouri State University (MSU), where I work. My colleagues and I believed that we were doing well at talking with our students about how much collaboration they would do in their careers with other healthcare professionals.  But we wanted to go further and figure out ways to provide the students real opportunities for interprofessional practice in their educational programs. That was part of the motivation for bringing together faculty from all 11 disciplines (such as social work, nursing, medicine and others) within CHHS, in addition to the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Pharmacy which was already in partnership with MSU. The other part of motivation was a growing recognition that interprofessional activities were no longer just encouraged in many of our disciplines’ accreditation standards; they were required.

Starting in Fall 2015, our committee to begin developing interprofessional educational activities for our students. We met monthly and eventually decided that it was not feasible to develop one activity, project, or experience that all students from CHHS could do together and still be  meaningful. We decided on four “menu items” that each discipline could choose to participate in, depending on the needs of their students. We wanted to have a mix of interprofessional activities, ranging from one-day experiences to projects that could be implemented over the course of a semester.

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Review of Teaching & Learning in Social Work Blog Posts for 2016

The end of a year is a natural time for reflection, and this year I offer a review of all the posts that appeared on Teaching & Learning in Social Work Education during 2016.  My goal for this blog is to write or publish at least two posts a month, which happened more months than not.  I also recruit other social work educators to write about their own experiences in the classroom or with scholarship, and also write about about all of my presentations, either at conferences or as a part of a workshop.  This year, I published a total of 25 blog posts, representing work with numerous collaborators and good colleagues.  Below is a list of this year’s post grouped around the topics of assignments, projects, guest educator posts, and conference presentations.

Assignments:  These blog posts provide information, how-to tips, and ideas about different types of technology-based assignments for the social work classroom:
– Job Shadowing on Twitter with Joy Jones on 1/8/16
– Tweet, Tweet!: Using Live Twitter Chats in Social Work on Education with Dr. Jimmy Young on 1/29/16
– Using #MacroSW in the Classroom with the @OfficialMacroSW Partners on 3/14/16
– Using Pinterest in Undergraduate Social Work Education – #BPDTX16 with Dr. Lisa Baker on 3/31/16
– Revised Technology-Based Learning Task List for Social Work Education with Drs. Melanie Sage and Nancy J. Smyth on 6/13/16

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Social Work Educator’s Guide for #SWVirtualPal

This guide to explains the hashtag #SWVirtualPal and how you might incorporate it into course content, a class assignment or learning activity.  You can also download a PDF version of this guide.

The purpose of the #SWVirtualpal hashtag is to create professional connections between social work students, practitioners, and academics across the planet.  It was created by  Amanda Taylor from the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, and Laurel Iverson Hitchcock from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the United States. To learn more about #SWVirtualPal, read this blog post.

Why #SWVirtualpal in Social Work Education?

Pen Pals have been a ‘thing’ for a very long time.  The earliest record of their usage, that we can find, is reported as being led by an ‘innovative Iowa teacher’ called Birdie Matthews, who at the time employed the methodology to bring the realities of WW II into the classroom (Myers-Verhage, 1995). Matthews  creativity in the classroom quite possibly led to one of the most famous pen pal relationships of all time, and this was between Juanita Wagner (her student at the time) and Anne Frank.  So why are we telling you all of this?  Well, before the internet the likelihood of a social work academic in the US, working closely and supportively with a social work academic in the UK would have been ‘virtually’ unheard of, or indeed a fairly disparate affair, which would have been laborious to maintain.  However, thankfully for us technologies have changed the way we work and the way we connect.  Today’s digital and social media  present all sorts of possibilities and opportunities; and being social workers with our default set on creativity, we decided quite a way back now to exploit all it is that technology affords.

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