Fordham GSS Associate Professor Abigail Ross, Ph.D., has published research describing the experiences of pediatric healthcare social workers during the first acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The article, titled “‘We Are Not Taking a Backseat’: Health Social Workers’ Perspectives on COVID-19 Response and Recovery”, was published in Health & Social Work.
We interviewed Dr. Ross to get the most important concepts from the article that you need to know.
From the Source: Research Interview with Dr. Abigail Ross
How long have you been working on this research?
We started this research back in March 2020, which was the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Describe this research in one sentence.
This research describes the experiences of pediatric healthcare social workers during the first acute phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it also applies the 5As framework of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine for characterizing social delivery of social care in healthcare settings.
Why is this research important?
This research is important for a couple of reasons. First, it underscores the importance of social work, service, delivery, and healthcare settings; and second, it shows that the 5As framework can be applied to social work practice during early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s the number one takeaway you want people to leave with after reading this article?
That social workers are part of pandemic response and recovery in health settings, and if we want to see the inequities that have been exacerbated from the pandemic start to be addressed and go away, we are going to have to double down on our advocacy efforts for policies that promote social justice.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered when writing this article?
I think the biggest challenge when writing this wasn’t really related to writing the paper or conducting the research. It was seeing the findings, and specifically the findings related to social work practice and healthcare settings during the pandemic, and the inadequacy of addressing individual-level social needs in the absence of large-scale policies that do promote equity and social justice.
What was the biggest success or “a-ha!” moment while writing this article?
The biggest success is that we are getting the word out that social workers are involved in pandemic response and recovery, and are critical members of the inner professional care team in health settings. The other big success was that this is another opportunity to promote advocacy for policies that promote social change.
What’s the next step for this research?
I think the next step is to take some of our own recommendations and really mobilize the social work workforce to engage in advocacy efforts beyond just the individual institution or the individual patients, and really target a policy change at state and national levels.