Social Work Student Interns on the Interprofessional Team: Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Household-centered Clinical Learning Environments
When we think about the issues of health and healthcare, we traditionally think about biological factors and the role of professions such as medicine and nursing. However, research now indicates the importance of non-biological factors affecting health. The World Health Organization (WHO), in its constitution, defines health as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Yet, until recently, the “social” components were often overlooked. These “social determinants of health” as defined by the WHO are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age. According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), an essential component of eradicating health inequities is addressing these social determinants. This perspective fits well with social work’s biopsychosocial approach to understanding and ameliorating complex social problems.
At Florida International University (FIU), social work students completing their field practicum in the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP, are teamed up with medical, nursing, physician assistant and law students to provide household-centered care to underserved households in Miami-Dade County. Participation from social work on these interprofessional teams provides for the ability to explore broader issues such as poverty, restricted access to resources, unemployment and addictions that affect the health and well-being of participants.
This lightning talk will address how this innovative healthcare delivery approach reaches people in their own households transforming these into dynamic, clinical learning environments that allow for patients and family members to become integral parts of the interprofessional team, thus increasing their opportunities to actively participate in decisions that impact their care. Participants will also gain knowledge about how this interprofessional approach to education nudges students out of their professional silos and prepares them to work collaboratively with other disciplines allowing for a smoother transition when they enter the professional setting.