JSWE Special Issue

Journal of Social Work Education

The context for social work education is rapidly changing. We must develop social workers who consistently use evidence to inform their practice, who are capable of delivering empirically supported interventions, and who understand and can apply implementation science and frameworks to support effective service delivery.

Referencing a recent Institute of Medicine report, then NIMH Director, Thomas Insel, challenged service professions to fully embrace and integrate evidence-based practice.

Increasingly, major funding sources require delivery of practice models with proven effectiveness for specific populations and behaviors of concern. Furthermore, despite political rancor, bipartisan legislation is emerging that requires delivery of evidence-based practice, including the following:

  • The 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34, 2016)
  • The Family First Prevention Services Act was passed as part of the Bi-Partisan Budget Act (H.R. 1892, 2018). This legislation requires federally funded child welfare services to implement promising, research-based or evidence-based practices.
  • The Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act includes more than 80 mentions of evidence and evidence-based practice and distributes power to states and districts to implement those provisions.

Consortium efforts lead to special issue!


Addressing results from our studies on workforce preparation and readiness (Barwick, 2011; Bertram, Charnin, Kerns, & Long, 2015), in 2015-16 the Consortium developed and presented its Janus series of webinars for MSW faculty and programs.

Participants in those webinars recommended we propose a special issue of the Journal of Social Work Education focusing on how to integrate evidence based practice and implementation science in academic and field curricula.

Once accepted, a call for abstracts was disseminated in the spring and summer of 2016. The response was overwhelming. We received 55 proposals from across the United States, Canada, and Australia, and 21 were invited to submit a manuscript. About half of these will be published in 2018.

In both content and in number, the abstract proposals demonstrated how the field is moving farther and faster than previous debates about evidence-based practice would suggest.

This special issue is co-edited by our co-director, Rosalyn Bertram, PhD (University of Missouri-Kansas City), and by a Consortium leadership group member, Suzanne E. U. Kerns, PhD (University of Denver). They extend special thanks to Patricia L. Kohl PhD (Washington University in St. Louis) for help in review of abstract proposals and selection of manuscripts for submission.

Bertram and Kerns were joined by JSWE editor Joanne Yaffe (University of Utah) in a discussion hour at the 2017 Council of Social Work Education’s Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, TX. They briefly presented the history of Consortium studies, webinars, and the special issue. A pdf of the powerpoint from that excellent discussion hour and of the Consortium’s Research in Social Work Practice article “Evidence-based practice in North American MSW curricula” (Bertram, Charnin, Kerns, & Long, 2015) are below.

CSWE 2018 JSWE Special Issue Discussion Hour

Evidence-Based Practice in North American MSW curricula