Although the National Institute on Aging predicts 70,000 social workers will be needed by 2020, a study by the NASW Center for Workforce Studies found that only 9% of licensed social workers in the United States identify aging as their primary practice area. A 2008 report of the Institute of Medicine underscored the need for gerontological social work education and training.
The John A. Hartford Foundation responded to this shortage by developing the Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI) in 2000. GSWI uses several strategies to promote social work expertise in aging:
- Funding and career development support for junior faculty members
- Dissertation grants and professional development opportunities to doctoral students
- Infusion of gerontological content in social work curricula
- Advanced field placements for students specializing in aging
The John A. Hartford Foundation’s 2009 annual report celebrates the 10th anniversary of GSWI and is devoted solely to this social work program. Visit www.jhartfound.org/pdf%20files/JAHF_2009_Annual_Report.pdf to read the report and www.jhartfound.org/blog/?cat=34 to view the Foundation’s blog devoted to geriatric social work.
NASW Center for Workforce Studies
National Study of Licensed Social Workers (2006)
Institute of Medicine
Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Healthcare Workforce (2008)