The Catholic University of America

Why Choose the Clinical Health Care Specialization?

When individuals are diagnosed with acute and chronic physical or psychiatric conditions, their lives and those of family members can be severally affected. Patients' and families' psychological, social, spiritual, and financial resources can be severaly challenged due to prolonged treatments, adverse reactions and complications, and long-term recover and rehabilitation. In these difficult economic times, disruptions to the lives of those facing such health-related issues are likely to be even greater.

Program Content:
Designed to respond to this need, the Health Care Specialization educates students to practice clinical social work with an understanding of the roles health and illness play in the lives of individuals, families, agencies, and communities. Graduates are prepared for work as clinical social workers in any setting, not just health care settings. As with our Clinical Concentration, this specialization prepares students for clinical licensure.

Based on a prevention and control model and evidence-based knowledge, this specialization prepares students to respond to a wide range of health issues, including chronic physical and psychiatric conditions. Such conditions can disrupt every aspect of daily living for afflicted persons as well as their families. Examples of these conditions include but are not limited to:

  • cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • renal disease
  • schizophrenia
  • traumatic injury
  • developmental disabilities; and
  • premature birth

Field Internships:
In addition to the courses and field placement required by the Clinical Concentration, students in the Health Care Specialization take the Theory and Models for Use in Health Care course, a field seminar with others in the specialization, and an elective course.

Students in this specialization will learn advanced clinical practice in their advanced year field internship. The internship can take place in a range of settings, including hospitals, medical clinics, home health agencies, hospices, or other settings where the mission includes caring for people with acute or chronic illnesses.

Health Specialization field internships may take place in such agencies as:

  • Capital Hospice
  • Children’s National Medical Center
  • Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center
  • INOVA Fairfax Hospital
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
  • Pediatric AIDS/HIV Care
  • Veterans Administration National Medical Center
  • Washington Cancer Institute
  • Wendt Center for Loss and Healing

The Clinical Health Care Specialization Curriculum

  • 801, 802, 803, 804 (Elect 2): Clinical Social Work with Older Adults; Adults; Adolescents & Young Adults; Children
  • 821, 822 (Elect 1): Clinical Social Work with Families: Traditional Models; Strengths-Based Models 821, 82
  • 723, 724,725 (Elect 1): Psychodynamic; Cognitive/Behavioral; Transpersonal Theory and Social Functioning
  • 740 (Required) Ethical Issues in Social Work
  • 756 (Required) Evaluation of Social Work Practice
  • 877/878 Required: Advanced Field Instruction & Integrative Seminar I/II: Health
  • 665 (Required): Theory & Models for Use in Health Care
  • 3 hour elective Elect 3 semester hours of free elective(s) Elect one of the following free electives: 1) Death; 2) Health Care Policy, Advocacy & Decision Making; 3) Additional Theory Course; 4) Attachment Theory and Neurobiology; 5) Treatment of Chemical Dependency 

Clinical health specializers take the following: two theory and practice courses, one family course, one advanced theory course, ethics, and evaluation PLUS Theoretical Orientations in Health Care, the Integrative Seminar I/II: Health, and one of the five electives already offered in the program, and listed above as free electives. Questions? Email Dr. Karlynn BrintzenhofeSzoc.