Social Work And Public Health: Partner Professions in Social Justice

I recently shared a note about Macro Social Work that contained resources describing some of the possible skills, definitions, and areas of macro practice we can find ourselves in.

Public Health can be one of those areas. As you explore this video, think of ways in which Public Health can work together with Social Work.

Here is the Public Health Pledge:

“I pledge to do all within my power to safeguard human and environmental health through prevention, protection, promotion, and educational efforts. I will accept the responsibility to use my talents, training, and professional experience to instill public trust in all my public health endeavors. It is my personal commitment to serve my community with integrity and pride.”

Learn more about the Public Health Pledge, and The Statement of Values Underlying Public Health Practice.

Here is the preamble to the Social Work Code of Ethics:

“The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable, oppressed, and living in poverty. A historic and defining feature of social work is the profession’s focus on individual well-being in a social context and the well-being of society. Fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living.

Social workers promote social justice and social change with and on behalf of clients. “Clients” is used inclusively to refer to individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. Social workers are sensitive to cultural and ethnic diversity and strive to end discrimination, oppression, poverty, and other forms of social injustice. These activities may be in the form of direct practice, community organizing, supervision, consultation administration, advocacy, social and political action, policy development and implementation, education, and research and evaluation. Social workers seek to enhance the capacity of people to address their own needs. Social workers also seek to promote the responsiveness of organizations, communities, and other social institutions to individuals’ needs and social problems.

The mission of the social work profession is rooted in a set of core values. These core values, embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective:

  • service
  • social justice
  • dignity and worth of the person
  • importance of human relationships
  • integrity
  • competence.”

Learn more about the Social Work Code of Ethics

Currently I spend some of my time as Social Worker managing a pipeline program aimed at increasing the representation of underrepresented students in the field of Public Health, under the belief that a Public Health workforce that is more reflective and inclusive of the populations being impacted by health disparities will be better prepared to address reducing the disparities.

I am constantly using my skills as a Social Worker, yet finding that many of the values within Social Work coincide with Public Health, and definitely believe these two professions partner well in the work for social justice.


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW



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Written by

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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