Serving The Practitioner


In a wide array of special projects and events, the NASW Foundation works in conjunction with NASW to utilize education, research, and training to strengthen and improve the best practices of frontline professional social workers. The objective is to use training and education as a means to disseminate the latest social work practice information to social workers and other health professionals across the country and around the world. The NASW Foundation partners with NASW and its Chapters, foundations, government agencies, and other organizations, to fulfill special projects that enhance the work of social workers in the United States and overseas. Highlights of our efforts to serve the practitioner are outlined below.

Social Work HEALS:  Health Care Education And Leadership Scholars

The New York Community Trust (NYCT), in 2014, awarded NASW and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) a $2.5 million dollar grant over five years to educate and train more social workers to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the United States. The grant enables NASW and CSWE to provide field instruction, course work, and leadership opportunities, so more social workers are positioned to become a key part of the U.S. health care delivery system, and provide better services to clients. 

NASW and CSWE have partnered together to develop and implement Social Work HEALS:  Social Work Health Care Education and Leadership Scholars. Social Work HEALS educates and trains social workers from the BSW to post-doctoral levels to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the U.S. This will be accomplished by creating a cohort of health care social work leaders at every professional level (including BSW, MSW, and PhD/DSW students and post-doctoral graduates) together with practice, research, and policy mentors and leaders. The objective is to develop the next generation of health care social work leaders who will stand ready to lead efforts to address system-level changes, to heighten awareness of prevention and wellness, and to address the issues of structural racism that are embedded in social institutions.

CDC Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy


In 2018, NASW and The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) Steve Hicks School of Social Work complete a successful four-year partnership representing social work in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy - and will embark on a new four-year project partnership with UT-Austin and CDC starting in 2018.  The first grant award was made to UT Austin in 2014.  To learn more, follow this link to our Fetal Alcohol Syndromes page. 

Health professionals play a key role in reducing the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) through the use of evidence-based practices, such as alcohol screening and brief intervention (alcohol SBI), that target high-risk drinking and the prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancy. As part of CDC’s cross-discipline collaborative, our social work team is working with physicians, nurses, and medical assistants to educate healthcare professionals about the importance of talking to women about risky alcohol use and to facilitate use of alcohol SBI in healthcare practice.  

NASW joins the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, and other leading health organizations in CDC’s national campaign to increase FASD awareness and improve primary prevention in women’s healthcare practice.

NASW serves as a partner to target social work practice. The purpose of this initiative is to strengthen research-to-practice linkages between CDC’s Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders programs and selected practice disciplines that are well positioned to advance FASD identification, treatment and prevention practice. NASW’s overall role on the project has been to: 1) work closely with the UT Austin and CDC’s cross-discipline Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy on planning, dissemination and training on FASD awareness and prevention practice among social work practitioners at both national and state levels; 2) facilitate promotion and delivery of FASD training opportunities through NASW’s continuing education and communication channels; and, 3) assist with dissemination of FASD information through NASW’s online and print communications and programming. 

NASW Supervisory Leaders In Aging Program

The John A. Hartford Foundation awarded the NASW Foundation a $1 million, three-year grant, in 2015, to launch a program through NASW Chapters in New York City, Maryland, Illinois, and Florida that will improve the delivery of health care and social services to older adults. The NASW Supervisory Leaders In Aging (SLA) Program established gerontological social work supervision training programs in these four Chapters and an ongoing practice excellence network among its graduates. The program provided a 10-module training, addressing both gerontological social work, and supervisory and leadership skills, to 160 master’s-level social workers (MSWs) who supervise staff serving older adults. NASW is working to expand the program nationally based on the lessons learned with the first four NASW Chapters. NASW projects the 160 supervisors will train approximately 1,280 staff to work with older adults. These staff members, in turn, are expected to serve more than 115,000 clients each year.

SAMSHA’s Mental Health Care Provider Education In HIV/AIDS and Mental Health Initiative

NASW implemented a multi-year contract [SAMHSA/CMHS Contract # 280-09-0292 2004-2009] with the Center for Mental Health Services, a division of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. With the award of this $750,000 contract, NASW provided training, education, and technical assistance to social workers dealing with the mental health issues of living with HIV/AIDS.

The HIV/AIDS Spectrum contract implemented curricula developed during the project’s tenure (1995-2017). The project provided skill-building workshops for social workers, and online distance-learning materials. Direct training of practitioners occurred in all the years of the project, and was delivered through continuing education programs offered through collaboration with NASW’s Chapters, Regional AIDS Education and Training Centers, other professional associations, and community-based agencies. Continuing education units were available in collaboration with the NASW Office of Continuing Education.

Foundation Collaborates With NASW On 2012-2018 National Conferences

"Shaping Tomorrow Together,"  June 20-23, 2018, Washington, D.C. - The NASW Foundation partnered with NASW on a national conference that attracted more than 2,000 social workers and other helping professionals from the United States and around the world. The ultimate gathering of the social work profession – the conference provided wonderful opportunities to earn up to 25.5 CEUs, participate in unique professional development seminars, network, and hear from a captivating group of renowned Keynote Presenters, and Plenary Session Presenters including CNN Correspondent Van Jones; U.S. Senator Cory Booker D-New Jersey; Kane Smego, spoken word and hip hop artist;  Fred Lajvardi, nationally-recognized Stem Educator;  Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Gretchen Rubin, best selling author and podcaster. The conference featured a Voter Engagement Teach-In on Capitol Hill, Pre-Conference Workshops, and close to 100 Breakout Sessions on a wide array of issues of importance to social workers. The NASW Foundation held A Night At The Awards, A Night To Remember, an event honoring NASW and Foundation recognition award recipients on June 22. 

"Leading Change, Transforming Lives,"  June 22-25, 2016, Washington, D.C. - The NASW Foundation partnered with NASW on the 2016 national conference that drew more than 2,000 social workers and related professionals. The conference featured a stellar list of inspiring keynote speakers including Soledad O’Brien, award-winning journalist and philanthropist; Nancy Lublin, CEO of Crisis Text Line and creator of Dress for Success; Wes Moore, an author, social entrepreneur, and political analyst; and violinist and motivational speaker Kai Kight, who performed at the conference opening. There were more than 100 interactive workshops, as well as special events including networking meet-ups, a Social Work Film Festival, and a red carpet A Night at the Awards – A Night To Remember, hosted by the NASW Foundation.

“Social Work: Courage, Hope and Leadership,"  July 23-26, 2014, Washington, D.C. – The NASW Foundation collaborated with NASW on a national conference that drew more than 1500 social workers from the United States and around the world. The conference featured more than 100 workshops and sessions that helped social workers address pressing social issues, including improving the delivery of health and mental health care, helping families escape poverty, and assisting victims of human trafficking.  Keynote speakers included Robert Reich, former U.S. Labor Secretary and economist; Steve Pemberton, business leader and author;  and Dr. Brené Brown, Social Work Researcher and New York Times best-selling author.

“Restoring Hope: the Power of Social Work,”  July 22-25, 2012, Washington, D.C. – The NASW Foundation partnered with NASW on a national conference that drew more than 800 social workers for plenary sessions and keynote speakers that included Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, military mom, and lifelong educator; Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient; Bob and Lee Woodruff, ABC and CBS journalists, authors, and veterans advocates; Dr. Kenneth Doka, Gerontology Professor and international grief expert; Donna Brazile, Political Strategist, Analyst, CNN and ABC News Contributor; and, Roberto Pacheco of Centro Cultural Waly Salomão, AfroReggae Cultural Group.  

Seven Social Work HEALS Scholars Together At 2018 NASW National Conference

Social Work HEALS Scholars participate in special luncheon at the 2018 NASW National Conference in Washington, D.C.  HEALS is funded by a generous five-year grant to NASW and the Council On Social Work Education from the New York Community Trust.



University of Texas At Austin, CDC Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy Team At 2018 NASW National Conference

Anita Prewett, MS, CRA and Leslie Sirrianni, LCSW, University of Texas at Austin (UTA), Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the 2018 NASW National Conference.  NASW and UTA are partners in CDC's Collaborative for Alcohol-Free Pregnancy (summary above).



NASW Social Work Talks Podcast Logo


In Episode 5, NASW Social Work Talks Podcast features the Director of the NASW Foundation, Bob Arnold.   Tune in for a discussion about the Foundation's many educational, research, and  charitable  initiatives.