Ruth Fizdale Program Research Projects

Since it was created in 1987, the Ruth Fizdale Program has provided numerous opportunities for NASW Chapters to conduct pilot research projects targeted to a specific emerging issue. These pilot projects often have then served as cornerstones for developing more comprehensive research projects.  The following is a sampling of some of the research grant initiatives. 

NASW-Kansas Chapter 2019-2020

The Fizdale Research Grant provided the NASW-Kansas Chapter with the resources to conduct valuable research focusing on workforce needs and capacity in Kansas. The information analyzed and compiled in the Kansas Social Work Profile will be an ongoing resource for social workers, policymakers, and legislators to make them aware of the profession’s needs. Follow this link to read the Kansas Social Work Profile >>

The following outcomes were completed through the Fizdale grant award:

  1. Kansas licensure data for all mental health professions was analyzed by county to assess demographic workforce needs across urban, rural, and frontier areas of the state.
  2. Workforce capacity by level of social work licensure (BSW, MSW, LSCSW) was assessed by county.
  3. The county by county data and the need for licensed social workers was presented at our annual Legislative Advocacy Day to over 300 social work students.
  4. A list of the nine accredited social work programs including their specialty areas and degree options was compiled within the handbook.
  5. The regulatory process to become licensed in Kansas was outlined in the guide. In addition, NASW-KS Chapter held a zoom training focusing on the information to inform social workers interested in becoming licensed.
  6. The three pillars of social work and the Chapter’s recent advocacy agenda was highlighted to further an understanding of the profession at the state and national level.
  7. The created workforce maps included in the handbook were presented to the Chairs of the House and Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
  8. The data and maps demonstrating the need for increased licensed mental health professionals especially in western Kansas was used as testimony at the House Insurance Committee in support of mental health parity reforms. A mental health parity taskforce formed from the Committee asked for further information from the data at a subsequent meeting.

NASW-Missouri Chapter 2016-2017

The Missouri Chapter used funding from the Ruth Fizdale grant to retrospectively assess the workplace safety needs of social workers, develop an evidence-based workplace safety and violence prevention training program and provide the developed evidence-based workplace safety and violence prevention training program to organizations and agencies that work with and employ social workers in Missouri.

NASW-Delaware Chapter & Texas Chapter 2013-2014

The NASW Delaware Chapter asserts that social workers and others in the social justice community have not been effectively using social media to further their practice and policy initiatives. Therefore, the project examined social workers’ use of social media to promote social change. The Chapter developed a pilot research project that evaluated how Delaware social workers utilize social media to further their practice and policy initiatives. 

According to the chapter’s proposal, social media tools are revolutionizing all areas of the social work profession. These tools can mobilize social action, such as disaster relief, outreach with difficult-to-engage clients, marketing, networking, and sharing ideas and best practices.  “Quantitative and qualitative data will be compiled, summarized and analyzed to ensure the ‘voices’ of our social workers are being heard,” the proposal states. The results of the project will serve as a cornerstone of the Chapter’s efforts to develop a more comprehensive and detailed research project, thus leading to beginner and advanced trainings.

The NASW Texas Chapter has initiated a Clinical Reimbursement Project, which focuses on issues surrounding clinical reimbursement for social workers. The project disseminates information to clinical providers to receive information relevant to practice and reimbursement. The Fizdale Grant allowed the Texas Chapter to assess the impact of the project so far, specifically assessing the effectiveness of advocacy efforts on Medicaid reimbursement efforts. 

The project was in its third year of a five-year plan and was successful in assisting social work providers and public and private insurance providers in resolving billing and reimbursement issues. For example ongoing efforts have been dedicated to obtaining Medicaid reimbursement rates for clinical social work providers. The Chapter's proposal explains, “This evaluation is an important step to ensure that the advocacy efforts of the Clinical Reimbursement Project are effectively meeting the needs of providers and ultimately reducing the lack of access to mental health services in Texas."

NASW Kentucky Chapter & North Carolina Chapter 2012-2013

The Kentucky Chapter sought to research the demographics of social workers in Kentucky and to assess their perceived feelings of safety in their current positions. The Chapter worked to gain a better understanding of the number of social workers who have experienced threats of harm or have been victims of violence during their careers, and whether current levels of supervision are sufficient for the jobs they are performing.  The Kentucky Chapter's objective was to inform state legislators about the state of social work in Kentucky.  

The North Carolina Chapter sought to position social work as a lead profession within the Medical Home and Integrated Care Models in North Carolina.  State officials have declared that Integrated Care is the "wave of the future" for North Carolina, and the Chapter worked to have direct influence on the development of care models in the state.  The intent was to position social workers as key front line professionals in this area. 

NASW-Massachusetts Chapter 2009-2010

The focus of the 2009-2010 NASW Massachusetts Chapter initiative was Hospital Social Workers: The Needs They Address and the Services They Provide. The Fizdale grant was used to document the value of social work intervention in hospital settings and determine the cost-effectiveness of social work services in the hospital setting.  The supporting team included directors of social work departments in the major Greater Boston, Massachusetts teaching hospitals and researcher and professor Dr. James Drisko from Smith College School of Social Work.

NASW-Iowa Chapter 2008-2009

In 2008-2009 the NASW Iowa Chapter, Fizdale Program grant, focused on the initiative:  "Provide opportunities for social work professional issues to be researched, analyzed, and utilized to develop goals for the social work profession.  Click here to read the full report.

NASW-Texas Chapter 2003

The NASW Texas Chapter sought to determine the relationship between U.S. Department of Labor and Texas Workforce Commission social work job classifications, and social work salaries in the state of Texas.  According to Vicki Hansen, LMSW-AP, Executive Director of the Texas Chapter, "We are very excited about receiving the Ruth Fizdale Grant.  We have been researching issues related to the Department of Labor and Texas Workforce Commission classification of social workers in Texas, and how this relates to the public perception of social workers, as well as to social work salaries."  She added that knowing the Ruth Fizdale Program Committee values the Chapter's work is very gratifying.  

"We are grateful for the assistance of our partners - the Texas Association of Social Work Deans and Directors and the Texas Workforce Commission - as we begin this next phase of our work," Hansen noted. The Texas Chapter developed a survey instrument to collect data from licensed social workers across the state, which would enable researchers to identify discrepancies in salaries, job classifications, and tasks performed.  The objective was to send the survey to social work employers and to licensed social workers within the state.

NASW National Awards

The NASW National Awards recognize leaders in the profession and in our communities who fully embody social work values and ethics. Our past award recipients have accomplished the extraordinary and we have been honored to recognize them. Read More >>

NASW Foundation / NASW Chapter Partnership

The NASW Foundation, as the tax-exempt subsidiary of NASW, is available to all NASW Chapters to house funds that are to be used for scientific, educational, and charitable purposes, and for which tax deductibility by the donor is desired. Learn More >>


Group Around Table Calculating With Charts And Notes

The Ruth Fizdale Chapter Research Grant program is currently paused and no new chapter research grants will be given in 2021. 

NASW Chapters (only) are traditionally invited to apply for a Ruth Fizdale Program grant to conduct pilot research projects in social policy.  The program supports up to two research grants of up to $3,000 each. Grant recipients are announced in June.