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History of the Clinical Social Work Department

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History of the Clinical Social Work Department

consultationIn 1955, the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health established the Division of Social Welfare after years of collaborative thinking and planning with the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Social Welfare and Hospital Administration. Natalie Kennedy was appointed as the first Chief Clinical Social Worker in the Medical Center. In establishing the Division, consideration was given to the growing appreciation and recognition of the psychological, sociological, economic and environmental factors that must be considered by a physician if he/she is to meet his/her responsibilities in the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease in the patient. Teamwork among the medical, nursing and social work professions, in clinics and hospital practice, was recognized as contributing to high standards of health care. The approach was supported also by the increasing need for preventative, therapeutic and rehabilitative services and the acknowledgement that inadequate use of those services adversely influences community and national socio-economic planning.

The Division of Social Welfare in Medicine was shifted to Hospital Administration as a department and was officially named Hospital Social Service in July 1964.  Since that time, the Chief Clinical Social Worker has been a member of the department heads’ in the Medical Center and has reported directly to Hospital Administration. Wilma Gurney was appointed as the second Chief Clinical Social Worker in May 1963.

In July 1973, the department was officially renamed the Department of Clinical Social Work and the working title of the department head became Director, Department of Clinical Social Work. A year later, Eleanor Klein was appointed as the Director of the Department.

During the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s the Department of Clinical Social Work experienced several shifts in management as well as departmental structural changes. In 2005, the department transitioned once again merging with the Department of Case Management and Utilization Review and was renamed the Department of Care Coordination. At that time, Roosevelt Travis assumed the new role of Director of Care Coordination with Nancy Hall as the Director of Clinical Social Work. In 2010, the Department of Clinical Social Work at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center merged with the Department of Care Coordination under the leadership of Marcia Colone, Ph. D. In 2011, the department was renamed The Department of Care Coordination & Clinical Social Work.

Clinical Social Workers at UCLA Health complete comprehensive assessments in order to provide supportive counseling and resources, as well as advocate for patients and families with ingenuity, dedication, and competence. The result is a Clinical Social Work department that works within a multidisciplinary team to provide excellent psychosocial care throughout the Medical Center and the community.