Social Work Practice with Immigrants and Refugees

What is clinical practice with immigrants and refugees?

Clinical practice with people of immigrant and refugee backgrounds takes into consideration the factors associated with voluntary and forced immigration. These factors include grief and trauma associated with the loss of homeland, loss of identity, and loss of family members, among others. It also includes mental health distress such as anxiety and depression. It recognizes the cultural factors that contribute to mental health among immigrants and refugees.

Why is it important?

Clinical practice with immigrants and refugees is important because these populations are on the rise in the U.S. and yet they remain largely underserved. Our nation is becoming increasingly diverse, and social workers will find themselves working with people of immigrant and refugee backgrounds in most professional settings. These communities have unique needs and challenges which can be effectively addressed by social workers who are knowledgeable, sensitive, and responsive to their needs.

The Scholars Program

Area of Emphasis in Practice with Immigrants and Refugees (AEIR) Scholars come together with faculty, alumni/ae, and community members with expertise in work with immigrants and refugees, in a two-year program that includes:

  • Courses, course assignments, research and events specific to people of immigrant and refugee backgrounds, their families and communities
  • Leadership opportunities within their AEIR cohort 
  • Field practicum that serves the needs of these communities
  • Tuition stipend of $1,000

An AEIR Scholars elective, GRSW 628: Clinical Practice with Immigrants and Refugees, is available.

Traudt Family Scholarship

AEIR scholars from immigrant or refugee communities are eligible to apply for up to $5,000 annually thanks to a generous gift from the Traudt Family.


A dandelion flower in a rusted lock next to text reading Area of Emphasis in Practice with Immigrants & Refugees - Spring 2020

AEIR Newsletter - Spring 2020