Wednesday, Oct 12, 2022
By Dean Scott Ryan
School of Social Work
As we come to the end of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15), let us not forget you can continue to celebrate and learn more about Hispanic Americans achievements and contributions.
For sure, no 30-day period offers adequate time to reflect fully on the multiple, diverse heritages that, for decades, have been excluded from public discourse and historical annals.
This timeframe provided us with the opportunity to relearn more inclusive American narratives. I hope our community of Social Work scholars will choose to study and understand the myriad points of view of Americans of Latin heritages.
This month our School re-committed itself to continue serving and mentoring emerging Social Work students of Hispanic descents.
More than one-third of our Social Work student body identifies by ethnicity as Hispanic. We need to continue nurturing these students and fully preparing them for the work that our profession so desperately needs.
Our profession is in dire need of Social Workers interested in serving Hispanic populations.
Consider these facts:
In a 2020 study that reviewed trends and demographics among Licensed Clinical Social Workers in Texas, Hispanic and Latino LCSWs were underrepresented when compared to the state’s population.
Of the 5,770 LCSWs in the state who offered their ethnicity as part of the study, less than 17 percent identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino. The study was reported by the Health Professions Resource Center and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The study revealed more concerns: Nearly a third of Hispanic and Latino LCSWs were age 51 or older.
“Within 10 years, 39 percent of the current Texas LCSW workforce will be over the age of 65,” the study concludes.
This means two things: (1) we have too few Licensed Clinical Social Workers of Hispanic descent and (2) of the 8,800 LCSWs in Texas, many are nearing retirement age.
Our opportunities as a School are multi-fold: We certainly will recruit more Hispanic and Latino students into our Social Work programs, and we will graduate them with the most up-to-date training around.
Our students play a key role in addressing the needs of our profession.
They must develop a passion to serve people, especially those near our borders and in our rural communities where LCSWs are most needed.
The time is now to act on such opportunities.
Please do not let this Hispanic Heritage Month pass without doing your part.
Scott D. Ryan
Dean and Professor
School of Social Work
The University of Texas at Arlington