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Morehead State announces launch of MSW program to meet regional need for social workers

msw-announcement.webpMorehead State University is launching a Master of Social Work (MSW) program next year with the support of a $310,000 grant from the Kentucky Association of Health Plans (KAHP).

"Behavioral health and substance use disorder are major priorities for commercial and Medicaid managed care plans in the Commonwealth," said Tom Stephens, president and CEO of KAHP. "We know this investment in a great institution will help Kentucky in its efforts to enlist more well-trained social workers. To play a role in kickstarting something new is really exciting for our membership."

The grant was announced Thursday, April 11, at a press conference on campus. MSU will receive $145,000 in the first and second years and $20,000 in the third year of the grant while the social work program navigates the accreditation process with the Council on Social Work Education. MSU collaborated with Mountain Comprehensive Care and Primary Plus to apply for the grant.

"The eastern region of Kentucky has a high demand for these services but does not have enough advanced degree social workers to meet the demand. In particular, healthcare providers, recovery centers, community health centers, and other agencies in our region have expressed a need for Licensed Clinical Social Workers," said Dr. Becky Davison (Class of 2023), director of the social work program at MSU. "The intention of this partnership is to build a high-quality master's in social work program here at Morehead State University that recruits and trains social workers to serve our region and enhance the health and well-being of our local communities."

The program will offer two specialized tracks: behavioral health (clinical) and substance use disorder. The MSW program will offer a generalist track for students who still need a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) and an advanced standing track for students who have earned BSW degrees. In addition, MSU will offer a five-year pathway to allow students to earn both a BSW and an MSW.

The program plans to launch in the fall 2025 semester, pending final approval from the Council on Postsecondary Education.

Learn more about programs in the Department of Social Work, Sociology and Criminology by emailing Department Chair Dr. Connie Hardesty at or calling 606-783-2273.

Photo Caption: the Kentucky Association of Health Plans has awarded MSU a $310,000 grant to establish a Master of Social Work (MSW) program. Pictured from left to right are MSU President Dr. Jay Morgan; Scott Lockard, public health director for Kentucky River District Health Department; KAHP President and CEO Tom Stephens; and Dr. Becky Davison, director of the MSU social work program.