Social Work


In Social Work, you’ll support patients AND colleagues in promoting health and wellness.

Read Her Story KRISTEN Social Work, Social Worker

Our over 300 social workers comprise a clinically astute team. We support not just the health of patients but also the well-being of our professional colleagues. Our comprehensive approach encompasses environments, attitudes and behaviors. Our philosophy: The healthier our caregivers, the better our patient care. We face a variety of challenges and find ample opportunities to impact positive change.

With over 75 years of leadership in social work practice, education and research, our responsibilities extend far beyond traditional discharge planning and end-of-life care. We work with patients adjusting to illness, addressing environmental and emotional needs through one-on-one, group and family counseling. You’ll also lead clinical debriefing meetings, working with colleagues in need of support after dramatic events or cumulative stress. As a social worker, you’ll assist people whose challenges can impede the healing process.

The Center of Care
You’ll find us at the heart of the hospital, where the people are, where the challenge presents itself. Our discipline is immensely respected here. We partner across the full spectrum of specialties to assist patients of all ages, working in key areas such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardiac, epilepsy and burn. We provide care and support in psychiatric nursing/psychiatry, collaborating with such units as Eating Disorder and Women’s Psychiatric Nursing. We also work in transplant therapy—serving our patients in the oftentimes lengthy process from organ failure to organ transplant.


  • Prerequisites for Social Work
  • Master’s degree in Social Work
  • New York State License required

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Leadership in Our Field:

Our Social Work Department is the longest-standing social work program in the country. What’s more, our department is managed by social workers, who bring special insight into our common goals and concerns. NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in the world to have a Social Work Department. We continue to be a dynamic leader in social work practice, education and research. Specialists from our NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center Burn Unit are frequent speakers at national conferences. We’re a renowned teaching hospital, which translates into frequent exposure to the latest thinking.


Settings include Oncology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Transplant, Medicine, Psychiatric and Mental Health, Multiple Sclerosis, Brain Tumors, HIV Services, Community Care, Palliative Care, Crime Victims Program, Family Planning Centers, our Child Advocacy Center, school-based clinics and more. From a clinical standpoint, you’ll have the chance to create innovative solutions that take patients forward with renewed hope.


Many of our social workers also hold offices in the Society For Social’s Work Leadership in Healthcare, National Transplant Association (NTA) and other professional organizations. This places us at the center of many of healthcare’s most prescient conversations. Our large training program has produced numerous Social Workers, many of whom are lauded experts. Our emerging social work leaders have been honored on numerous levels including the Mayor’s Office.


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Area of Excellence: Diabetes Care
Our social workers devote a considerable amount of energy to diabetes and obesity care, particularly in the area of childhood obesity. They counsel patients as well as parents and families, in addition to nutritionists, nurses and physicians.

One of the newest techniques we’ve been counseling patients about is called “Lap Banding.” A new study of obese adolescents has shown that laparoscopic gastric banding surgery—the “Lap-Band” procedure—not only helps achieve significant weight loss but also can improve and even reverse metabolic syndrome, reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

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Exciting Social Programs:

We also work with the largest number of incredible volunteers in our Domestic Violence Program. Domestic violence is a term used to describe violence and abuse by family members or intimate partners. We make help available to victims, so they can live without fear. This includes gathering and documenting evidence, assisting with medical care and working with partner associations to find safe housing. Our Domestic Violence Program maintains a special relationship with the NYPD Special Victims Unit and the Attorney General’s Office.


Our HIV care program delivers comprehensive team care to men, women and children infected and affected by HIV. We also provide world-renowned support through a cadre of care providers, all assembled to assist adult and pediatric patients with their psychological, social and spiritual health issues. Social workers assist with both the emotional and the practical, through individual and family counseling, crisis intervention, education and referrals to community service agencies.


We’re home to the lauded Second Chance Program for former state hospital patients, many of whom have spent their entire lives in state-run facilities. Utilizing an intensive social learning program, over 70% of these patients return to their communities instead of a state institution.

More About the Second Chance Program


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Social Work Month
During the month of March, our Social Work staff is recognized for excellence in five areas: Service to Patients and Families, Service to the Department of Social Work, Service to the Social Work Profession, Service in the Community and for Support Services to the Department of Social Work. Awardees are selected by the Staff Recognition Committee from nominations made by colleagues. The awards are bestowed during the Annual Social Work Month Celebration and Awards Ceremony. Candidates are permanent non-management colleagues who have demonstrated: clinical excellence, leadership skills, interdisciplinary collaboration and performance on a consistent level of excellence on a daily basis. And that’s just to name a few of the benchmarks!

Education & Training
We develop an intriguing inservice curriculum for our social workers every year. NewYork-Presbyterian prepares social workers for the LCSW by providing ongoing supervision and opportunities to practice advanced clinical social work. Hosting CE courses, we’re also proud to have our team step out and represent us at conferences. This demonstrates our commitment to a high level of performance and continuing education through tuition reimbursement.

Educational programs are offered in a variety of formats:

  • Small Group Seminars: topics of interest to the social worker practicing in the healthcare arena.
  • Social Work Rounds: topics with a broader social work perspective and with relevance to practice in a healthcare setting.
  • Social Work Grand Rounds: topics from a broad interdisciplinary perspective with relevance to the greater interdisciplinary healthcare community.
  • Social Work Intern Program: topics to assist the trainees and support the supervising professional through education, training and development.

Find Out More About Social Work

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One minute he's a physician at NYP another he is a patient. Dr. Steven D. Spandorfer shares his story about how the NYP team came to his rescue after suffering from cardiac arrest.

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