Editors: Daniel B. Kaplan, PhD and Barbara Berkman, PhD
Publisher: Oxford University Press – 710 pages
Book Review by: Paiso Jamakar

Health care and social work are closely related areas of study and practice, at least in the United States, if not also in other developed countries. Most older people require health care as well as social assistance, especially if they are not well off, economically.

The knowledge base and our understanding of the delivery of health care and social services continues to grow, so in this book the editors and authors share it with you the reader, who may be in these fields, or seeking to enter them.

Some of this new knowledge and understanding includes:

  • Enhancements in the theory of gerontology
  • Innovations in clinical interventions
  • New, major developments in the social policies that structure and finance health care services for seniors

These and other nuggets of information and insight are to be found in this important book in the area of social work as it relates to the health and well-being of older people.

One hundred thirty-three people from all over the United States contributed to this work by writing its 62 chapters. Most of them are professors at universities while the rest work at or are affiliated with health, social work, and research centers. Its 62 chapters cover a broad range of topics, and are organized around two Parts with these five Sections:

  • Part A:  Social Work Practice in Health and Aging
    • Section I: Assessments and Interventions
      • Assessments
      • Interventions
      • Section II: Social Work Practice in the Community
        • Settings for Community-Based Practice
        • Social Services Available Through Community Settings
    • Section III: Social Work Practice in Long-Term Residential Care
    • Part B: Populations Social Workers Serve in Health and Aging
      • Section I: Older Adults with Chronic Physical Conditions
      • Section II: Older Adults with Mental Health Conditions
      • Section III: Special Older Adult Populations
      • Section IV: Older Adults From Diverse Cultures
      • Section V: Older Adults in Palliative and End-of-Life Care
    • Part C: Policies and Regulations in Health and Aging

In 2010, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known in short as the ACA, but more commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’) was passed, a lot of changes were set in motion that helped or hurt some people right away, and others in later years. Some of the provisions in this 2,000+ page-long document will certainly affect others in 2016 and beyond.

Depending on income levels, the effect of the ACA has been mixed, with some people receiving lower-cost health care coverage subsidized by the government, while others seeing health care insurance premiums shoot up to levels that make the demands of this law quite unaffordable.

Among the important features of this book are the following:

  • Attention to diversity
  • Detailed recommendations of best practices for people with a variety of conditions
  • Implications for policy, practice, and research
  • Information on health care trends

This is a valuable book for all social workers, providers of health care and social services, educators, and students.



Daniel B. Kaplan, PhD is a clinical social worker with expertise in mental and neurological disorders. He is an Assistant Professor at Adelphi University School of Social Work. He earned his doctorate at Columbia University School of Social Work and then held an NIMH-funded postdoctoral research fellowship at the Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

His research includes both intervention and implementation studies that aim to optimize care services, interventions, and supportive environments for older adults with mental and neurological disorders living in the community. He conducts program evaluation research and services for several gerontology leadership and workforce development programs.


Barbara Berkman, PhD is the Helen Rehr / Ruth Fizdale Professor Emerita of Health and Mental Health at Columbia University School of Social Work, and Research Professor at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. She has directed 23 federally- and foundation-supported research projects focusing on gerontology and oncology, and was the Principal Investigator of the Hartford Foundation’s Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholars Program.

She is a former President of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research. Dr. Berkman has received many awards and honors for her research and policy efforts in health and aging. In recent years, she received the 2002 Career Achievement Award from the Association for Geriatric Education in Social Work.