Master of Social Work (MSW)

Do you want to explore health and wellness from both traditional and complementary perspectives? Interested in shaping health care programs and policies, or helping to improve health and wellness for individuals and communities? A master’s degree in social work with a concentration in Health & Wellness will prepare you to be a practitioner in a variety of holistic health, integrated health and wellness settings, including hospitals, after-school programs and experiential treatment settings.

Our curriculum presents health and wellness from a social justice perspective, illuminating health disparities and injustice and preparing social workers to impact health issues at micro, mezzo and macro levels. You’ll learn a variety of culturally responsive practice skills, theories and evidence-based modalities to prepare for social work in comprehensive and specialized health care facilities, public health clinics, wellness promotion initiatives and preventative health care programs.

This concentration prepares students for leadership and advocacy in clinical practice and policy settings and complements the Master of Social Work (MSW)/Master of Public Health (MPH) dual-degree program.

professor michael talamantes

Your Career Options

Health care and medical social work positions are projected to grow by 20% through 2026. With an MSW concentration in Health & Wellness, your social work career could include:

  • Identifying how race and the social determinants of health contribute to health disparities, and how to approach these complex issues
  • Advocating for policy reform across systems as you gain a better understanding of the complex health care delivery system and its systemic barriers
  • Conducting comprehensive assessments and brief psychosocial interventions in all health settings
  • Incorporating holistic and whole-person care within any health practice setting
  • Completing program and community wellness assessments
  • Developing health promotion programs
  • Working in integrated behavioral health settings — particularly primary care

I am not in a traditional hospital social worker position, but the knowledge I gained in the concentration gave me a better understanding of the importance of health in all settings. I have even incorporated some of the wellness techniques and resources I learned in classes with my students.

Alexandria Forte, Alumni, MSW ’16, FACES for the Future Program Manager, At-Risk Intervention and Mentoring Social Worker, Denver Health Medical Center Read More

Learn more about the curriculum in Health and Wellness.


Explore some of our field education locations with a focus on Health & Wellness

  • Aurora Mental Health Center, Health and Wellness Clinic

    The purpose of the Health and Wellness Clinic is to improve the health of people with mental illness and addictions by increasing access to primary care services; improving prevention, early identification and intervention of physical diseases, including chronic illness; and integrating physical and behavioral health care services. Interns offer behavioral health provider services for adults with serious mental illness and chronic physical disease, such as diabetes and chronic pain.

  • Berkley Palliative Care and Hospice

    Berkley Palliative Care and Hospice provides comfort and dignity to patients through their end-of-life journey. Berkley concentrates on patient- and family-centered goals with a focus on the medical, mental and spiritual needs of patients and families. Interns assess new patients, develop care goals and plans, make bereavement calls and assist with grief support group facilitation.

  • Brent Eley Foundation, Brent’s Place

    Brent’s Place provides safe and clean housing and improves the quality of life for children and families living with cancer and other immunocompromising conditions. Interns work with a wide variety of client populations under the health care umbrella and learn program management and development, informal use of clinical skills to create a supportive environment for families, volunteer management and more.

  • Centura Health, St. Anthony North Health Campus, Integrated Care Team

    The Integrated Care Team uses an integrated model of patient care that combines mental and physical health in a family medicine clinic. Behavioral health provider interns meet patients when they come in for their medical visits. They also provide clinical interventions to patients who are in mild to acute emotional distress and need complex social work interventions and case management.

  • Salud Family Health Centers

    Salud is a comprehensive primary health care system that provides affordable, quality, integrated health care services to more than 70,000 patients each year, improving community health and lowering health care costs. Interns apply clinical skills through the implementation of evidence-based mental health screenings; consult with medical providers to determine the course of treatment; schedule therapy appointments for individuals, couples and families; and facilitate shared medical appointments for obstetrics and diabetes care.


Students in the Health & Wellness concentration can apply for a CLIMB@DU grant, which provides $10,000 stipends for behavioral health social workers.

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Key Health Faculty

Donny Gerke

Donny Robert Gerke

Assistant Professor

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Jennifer Greenfield

Jennifer Greenfield

Associate Professor; Assoc Dean for Doctoral Ed.

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Key Wellness Faculty

Nicole Nicotera

Nicole Nicotera


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erin harrop

Erin Nicole Harrop

Assistant Professor

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Kathryn Ross

Kate Ross

Professor of the Practice of Social Work; Director Denver Campus MSW Program

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Application Information

Upcoming Early Application Deadline: Summer and Fall 2023 Denver Campus MSW Program and Denver Campus Advanced-Standing MSW Program