By Alan Boardman LMSW; ACM-SW

“The focus for practice in a helping profession is faith in the possibilities within people, if given the right conditions for growth.”  -Bertha Capen Reynolds, Social Worker, (1885-1978) 

The profession of Social Work is celebrated annually in March. The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has selected this year's theme as "Empowering Social Workers: Inspiring Action, Leading Change." This theme was chosen to recognize the national shortage of mental health workers at a critical time for our nation. The national opioid crisis, rising rates of suicide, homelessness, and the gun violence epidemic have created a strong demand for Social Workers. Social Work is one of the fastest-growing professions in the United States, with an anticipated growth rate of 7 percent over the next decade. By 2030, it is anticipated that there will be almost 800,000 Social Workers across the nation.

With its roots in the Industrial Revolution and subsequent waves of immigration, Social Work has been dedicated to addressing poverty, disease, mental health, child welfare, and social justice issues since its inception. Jane Addams pioneered the Settlement House movement that spawned social action efforts, leading to child labor laws and workplace protections. Addams received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931 for her Work. Mary Richmond's leadership in The Charity Organization Societies fostered the professionalization of Social Work. Richmond was committed to understanding the needs of people experiencing poverty rather than blaming them for their circumstances. She emphasized the impact of environmental factors on family systems, wellness, and mental health. Richmond's contributions laid the groundwork for the biopsychosocial model that we use today. Social Workers have led the charge for many reforms and benefits. They include Social Security, Medicare, a minimum wage, and improved workforce safety.

Given this heritage, advancing health equity comes naturally to Social Workers. The facts indicate a critical need for a robust and empowered Social Work labor force. There are alarming disparities in maternal and infant health, life expectancy, disease burden, mental health conditions, food insecurity, and timely access to healthcare. Furthermore, we must be attentive to the consequences of gun violence and its impact on adverse childhood experiences that have profound implications for our nation's youth.

As we navigate major social transitions today, the use of evidence-based practices to address complex needs will be required. We are living in an information age. The CMSA Foundation endeavors to publicize evidence-based practices through research and dissemination of advancements in case management. It is imperative for Case Managers, regardless of discipline, to share proven techniques that yield better treatment outcomes.

What was true over 100 years ago remains true today. Case management that uses evidence-based practices leads to better health, stronger families, resilient children, and vibrant communities. We know that resolving health inequities will not be easy. It will require a commitment to social justice and reforms like Jane Addams. However, in an information age, case managers must have the data that documents solid outcomes to be strong and effective advocates for our clients and our profession. Case Managers will be instrumental in advancing health equity through advocacy and process improvements. But modern times demand that we have the data to measure our impact and to justify further investment in our field. This is why I support the vital work of the CMSA Foundation, and I hope you will, too.

To learn more about the CMSA Foundation and how you can invest in the future of case management, go to

Have you downloaded your free copy of “Communicating Your Value: The Case Manager’s Guide?” This collaboration by CMSA and the Center for Case Management will empower your practice, educate your peers, and showcase your value:

Bio: Alan Boardman has been a Licensed Social Worker for 28 years. His career focuses on serving individuals living with chronic Behavioral Health conditions, Serious Mental Illness, and complex, co-occurring conditions.   As the Director of Clinical Program Management in the Behavioral Health department at a large New York City based health plan, he develops, implements, and evaluates integrated case management programs that use data driven approaches to improve treatment outcomes through the use of evidence-based practices. Additionally, Alan is responsible for strategies to improve Behavioral Health Quality outcomes.  Alan served as a Director on the CMSA Foundation Board for the past five years, and he assumed responsibilities of President in July 2023.  He has also served on the CMSA Finance Committee.  In 2022, Alan worked on a committee to update the CMSA Standards of Practice for Case Managers.  He has made several presentations at CMSA’s national conference and has been published in CMSA Today.   He is very grateful for the opportunities that CMSA has provided for professional development since joining in 2007.