The Boston College School of Social Work’s Latinx Leadership Initiative is partnering with Mass General Brigham to improve care for Latinx communities in Massachusetts.
In social work and behavioral health settings, a level of shared cultural and linguistic understanding is vital for promoting clients’ health and well-being. For the Boston area’s diverse and growing Latinx communities, however, it is not always easy to access culturally-fluent, bilingual therapists and social workers. To address this critical gap, the Latinx Leadership Initiative in the BC School of Social Work has received a $600,000 Community Fellows Grant from the Mass General Brigham health care system to develop the workforce of bilingual, bicultural social workers in Massachusetts. The grant is part of a new $50 million investment by Mass General Brigham—Massachusetts’s largest health care provider—to improve mental health care capacity, workforce development, chronic disease management, nutrition security, and equity through partnerships with 20 community-based agencies and institutions of higher education in Massachusetts.
““There is an acute need for behavioral health providers in Latinx communities, especially after those communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID. Mass General Brigham’s goal is to address that need, and we have a history of training professionals to do that work successfully.””
The partnership’s inaugural cohort of four fellows will be selected this fall. After this cohort graduates in 2022, LLI and Mass General Brigham will select at least 10 fellows each academic year. The grant will also help fund Calvo’s ongoing research on effective strategies for training and supporting bilingual, bicultural social workers, which she conducts in collaboration with the LLI’s students, alumni, and partner organizations.
“The interventions of this grant target the systemic issues that prevent Latinx social workers from developing their careers and Latinx clients from accessing adequate care,” Calvo said. She points to the monthly professional development workshops the LLI is developing with its community partners. “These workshops will help LLI students learn how to navigate systems to overcome the barriers that often prevent Latinx social workers from advancing in their careers."