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.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GSSW now offers additional start dates and program tracks for the Two-Year and Advanced-Standing Denver Campus MSW Programs. Learn More and Apply Now.
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
Alexandria Forte, Alumni, MSW ’16, FACES for the Future Program Manager, At-Risk Intervention and Mentoring Social Worker, Denver Health Medical Center Read More
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.
Evolving Perspectives and Trends in Health and Wellness
About this Course
This course provides an overview of the theories that inform social work practice in the field of health and wellness. Health as a concept is examined for its understanding and meaning in multiple practice settings, communities and cultures. While addressing evolving trends and ethics in health care practice settings, a range or topics are covered including systems perspectives and thinking, the intersection of health and mental health, wellness and prevention, social ecology of health promotion, client and person centered care, care management and health care disparities.
Integrated Health Care: Models and Practice
About this Course
This course provides an overview of the knowledge, skills and theory of integrated health care social work practice, where physical and behavioral health services are most often provided in a primary care medical environment. Students will learn roles/functions of the behavioral health professional and their effectiveness as a member of the collaborative care team. Incorporating knowledge of evidence-based practice models of care and behavior change theory, they will increase their practice abilities to effectively work at an advanced level of skill as an integrated care behavioral health provider. Strategies and skills in patient engagement, motivational enhancement and advocacy will be taught through case studies and group activities. Cultural competency and effective care planning in an integrated healthcare environment will be emphasized.
Mind-Body Connections in Social Work Practice
About this Course
This course teaches skills for implementing mind-body techniques, models for wellness assessments, and evidence-based mind-body strategies for intervention in client and community problems. An evidence-based approach creates a foundation for: 1) understanding the mind-body connection that influences an individual’s and community’s physical, emotional, and social well-being and 2) the most efficacious methods for mind-body social work practice skills. Research evidence demonstrates that mind-body strategies are helpful for an array of concerns such as, military personnel with PTSD, adults with emotional regulation issues, academic concerns of stressed-urban youth, community mobilization, and emancipatory practice.
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.
Key Health Faculty
Key Wellness Faculty
Upcoming Final Application Deadline: December 2021 Two-Year & Advanced-Standing Denver Campus Program