Leveraging the Power of Social Work through Interprofessional Education


  • Maureen Rubin
  • Lisa de Saxe Zerden University of North Carolina
  • Lisa E. McGuire James Madison University




social work, IPE, Interprofessional Education


Interprofessional education (IPE) “occurs when students from two or more professions learn about, from and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes” (World Health Organization [WHO], 2010). With a commitment to foster collaborative practice, social work faculty have provided leadership in incorporating IPE in social work and other discipline’s curricula and training for more than a decade (Konrad et al., 2017; Nimmagadda & Murphy, 2014; Jones & Phillips, 2016). Yet, now more than ever, as the country and world grapple with responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant deleterious impacts on society, effective collaboration has never been more critical. Likewise, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has impacted the nation as the country reckons with racial and social disparities across every sector of society. The impetus for this special issue pre-dated the COVID-19 and BLM momentum; however, the 19 papers included in this special issue highlight the interconnected nature of social conditions across systems that necessitate interprofessional, coordinated responses. This special issue reinforces the importance of collaboration, teamwork, inclusivity, and diversity. The power of social work, in partnership with other professions and/or disciplines, in communities locally and globally is essential to effectively meeting some of society’s greatest challenges.


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Jones, B., & Phillips, F. (2016). Social work and interprofessional education in health care: A call for continued leadership. Journal of Social Work Education, 52, 18-29. https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2016.1112629

Konrad, S., Cavanaugh, J., Rodriguez, K., Hall, K., & Pardue, K. (2017). A five-session interprofessional team immersion program for health professions students. Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice, 6, 49-54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xjep.2016.12.007

Mancini, M. A., Maynard, B., & Cooper-Sadlo, S. (2019). Implementation of an integrated behavioral health specialization serving children and youth: Processes and outcomes. Journal of Social Work Education, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2019.1661905

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Zerden, L. D. S., Jones, A., Brigham, R., Kanfer, M., & Zomorodi, M. (2017). Infusing integrated behavioral health in an MSW program: Curricula, field, and interprofessional educational activities. Journal of Social Work Education, 53(sup1), S59-S71. https://doi.org/10.1080/10437797.2017.1288595

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