OpusVi and CommonSpirit Health Partner to Combat Social Work Staffing Shortages with Launch of Social Work Fellowship

6 min read



OpusVi, a leading workforce development solutions provider backed by CommonSpirit Health, Providence Health and Premier Inc., that exclusively enables healthcare systems and organizations to upskill and retain top talents, has partnered with CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest Catholic and not-for-profit health systems in the United States, to launch a Social Work Fellowship program. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for employment of social workers is projected to grow by nine percent from 2021 to 2031, and about 74,700 positions are projected to be required each year, on average, over the decade. 

The demand for social workers is increasing, and the barriers to clinical licensure are negatively impacting the supply. The healthcare industry is simultaneously turning to social care as an integral tool in addressing social needs, behavioral health and other psychosocial barriers – increasing the demand for social care workers even further.

Breaking Down Barriers for the Social Workforce

According to the Association of Social Work Boards, only 76.1% of test takers from 2011 to 2021 passed the Clinical exam and the pass rate is largely uneven among racial minorities. The inequality in these results is due, in part, to the lack of widespread access to continued education and mentorship, especially in lower-income communities. This national program aims to support fellows in the early years of their professional careers and to provide guidance in their pathways to licensure. This program will also be underpinned by OpusVi's market-leading data capture and reporting technology to ensure the support and success of participants is measured and supplied to administrators and managers in real-time.

“Social workers are often only trained on how to address the specific needs of their local patient population, which greatly restricts their ability to learn larger concepts that not only are required knowledge for licensure exams, but also are integral to better meeting the needs of patients and families,” says Josh Brewster, the System Director of Social Work and Vulnerable Populations at CommonSpirit Health. “Working with OpusVi to create this social work fellowship will greatly improve our health systems’ ability to enhance the care continuum, therefore improving patient outcomes and creating a stronger, larger social care workforce.”

“We’re proud to leverage our custom workforce development solutions to support the CommonSpirit Health clinical social workers,” says Julie DeLoia, Chief Academic Officer at OpusVi. “By not only providing access to engaging and relevant content, but also creating opportunities for practical, clinical experience and peer-to-peer interaction, we’re opening the door for learners to expand their expertise outside of the needs of their current patient population. On a monthly basis, we also welcome Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to speak with learners to share firsthand knowledge and demonstrate the many career possibilities in this industry.”

The goal of this partnership is to support social workers across the CommonSpirit Health system as they grow in their careers, competence and confidence – ultimately leading to healthier, stronger and safer communities.

A Stronger Training Approach to Build a Stronger Workforce

Participation in the Care Coordination Academy provides learners with impactful networking opportunities and expands their visibility and understanding of patient populations outside of their local communities. This peer-to-peer collaboration combined with the upskilling of social workers across the health system directly supports CommonSpirit Health’s goal of addressing social determinants of health (SDoH) and improving continuity of care.

The coursework within this fellowship weaves anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion (ADEI) throughout the program and the curriculum provides training on trauma-informed care to ensure students are learning to view and treat patients with a holistic lens.

To learn more about the social work fellowship program, visit our website or connect with an enrollment advisor at

About CommonSpirit Health 

CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 by Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. With its national office in Chicago and a team of over 175,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit operates 145 hospitals and more than 2,200 care sites across 24 states. In FY 2022, CommonSpirit had revenues of $33.9 billion and provided $4.9 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at