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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