Aranda Elected to Institute of Medicine Committee
The Institute of Medicine has appointed Maria Aranda, an associate professor at the USC School of Social Work, to its Committee on the Mental Health Workforce for Geriatric Populations.
The committee's goal is to determine the mental and behavioral health care needs of Americans over 65 years of age and to make policy and research recommendations for meeting those needs. In making those recommendations, Aranda and her fellow committee members will consider forces that shape the health care workforce, such as education, training, modes of practice, and the financing of public and private programs.
"The implications for social work are huge," Aranda said. "This work is important because social workers as a group comprise the largest field of mental health providers in the United States, and the recommendations we make will need to be implemented by a competent and well-trained mental health work force."
Aranda is uniquely qualified to serve on this committee. Her body of research addresses the study of psychosocial care of adult and late-life psychiatric disorders, ethnic and racial diversity in the delivery of mental health services, and sociocultural adaptations to evidence-based social work practice. She leads the school's Older Adult sub-concentration and is chair of the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging's Scientific Governing Board. Aranda is also editor of the journal Home Health Care Services Quarterly.
Aranda, who was nominated by her peers to be a part of the committee, noted this older target population in the United States is projected to double by 2030.
"This is a timely committee to meet the growing needs of mental and behavioral health for this population," Aranda said.
The scope of the committee's work is vast and will include military veterans, as well as ethnic and racial groups, within the geriatric population. Aranda and her colleagues will examine workforce barriers, chronic disease management and the effect of the federal mental health parity law as they relate to older Americans.
"It's a huge task, but I'm looking forward to it," Aranda said. "It gives the school and the university somebody at the table to be able to craft the recommendations for the next generation."
- Master of Social Work