School of Dentistry Social Work program mission
Social work services are provided to patients and their families to meet their social and emotional needs as they impinge on their oral health. Additionally, social workers participate in an inter-professional practice milieu with dental students and faculty where they teach and model person centered trauma-informed and relational approach to oral health care.
The primary goals for the social work Program at SOD are twofold. First, the social work team will assist patients in addressing their psychosocial needs and increase access to resources. Second, the social work team will promote dental education by providing support and consultation to students, residents, and faculty.
The social work team will assist patients by reducing identifiable barriers to health and well-being. This will include but is not limited to the following activities:
- Assessment of patient’s psychosocial needs and development of a service plan
- Linkage to community resources
- Advocacy on patient behalf when indicated
- Counseling and education regarding healthy behaviors to promote wellness
- Engaging patient’s support system when clinically indicated
The social work team will assist student, residents, and faculty by providing didactic education in the form of in-service trainings and classroom instruction. Topics will be researched and presented to students, residents, and faculty according to areas of interest and need. SOD faculty will be consulted in determining the content and method for such education. Support and consultation will be available upon request.
Scope of practice and model of service delivery
The social work program is designed to augment and be an integral part of the oral health services offered at SOD. The social work team will provide services using a case management model by seeking to connect patients with resources and helping them navigate systems of care until service plan goals are achieved. In most cases, this will pertain to the dental treatment the patient is receiving; however, this is not a requirement.
Patients who are experiencing identifiable psychosocial stressors are appropriate referrals for the SOD social work program. These patients may be experiencing problems such as health/mental health problems, family concerns, transportation, or various other types of stressors. Patients that are exceptionally challenging to treat may also be an appropriate referral as social work can assist with identifying underlined psychosocial contributors. The social work team can reinforce SOD’s mission and further educate patients regarding their options for continued care.