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DSW Program at the School of Social Work

The University of Maryland School of Social Work is developing a new DSW program launching in the fall of 2024.Different than the PhD in Social Work, which focuses on research, the Doctorate of Social Work degree, or DSW, is an advanced practice doctorate designed to prepare licensed MSW (Master of Social Work) graduates for leadership roles in academic, agency, and private practice settings.


Recently, there has been a strong demand for advanced clinical training in social work. The need for DSW programs is driven by significant and evolving behavioral and mental health needs within our community as well as the movement by many allied health professions towards adopting doctorate education as their terminal practice degree, including nursing (CRNP), pharmacy (PharmD), and psychology (PsyD). The DSW will create a group of highly trained clinical social workers ready to provide leadership, services, and training across many community settings in Maryland.


I am pleased to announce the appointment of School of Social Work Professor Ed Pecukonis, PhD as the inaugural Director of the DSW Program. Dr. Pecukonis has served as a faculty member of the University of Maryland Baltimore for almost 40 years.


Prior to joining our faculty in 1999, Dr. Pecukonis held joint faculty appointments in the Department of Family Medicine and Department of Psychiatry and the University of Maryland School of Medicine where he taught family therapy and coordinated behavioral sciences training for residents and medical students. Dr. Pecukonis received his Master of Social Work degree from the Smith College School for Social Work and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. He is a licensed certified clinical social worker and licensed clinical supervisor within the State of Maryland and a diplomat in clinical social work, certified by the American Board of Social Work Examiners.


During his tenure at our SSW, Dr. Pecukonis was the Principal Investigator and Director of the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training, funded by HRSA for over 20 years. This premier and award-winning center helped lay the foundation for Public Health Social Work training throughout the nation. Dr. Pecukonis served as Chair of Maternal and Child health training and was one of the co-founders of the University of Maryland Center for Interprofessional Education, and chair of the President’s task force on interprofessional education.


Over the years, Dr. Pecukonis received a variety of teaching awards and academic honors dating back to his service to residents and medical students as a faculty member in the Department of Family Medicine. In 2009, he was honored with the excellence in teaching award by the Maryland chapter of the National Association of Social Work. In 2015, he was named teacher of the year for the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and was nominated for the Sage innovations in teaching award through CSWE.


Dr. Pecukonis will be working with colleagues at the school, in the university, and from our social work community as he develops this program. Should you have questions or thoughts about the proposed program, please reach out to him directly at epecukonis@ssw.umaryland.edu.

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