Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

M.A.

First Advisor

Dr. Gerry L. White

Second Advisor

Dr. Vimala Pillari

Third Advisor

Dr. Rosl A Harpei-Arnold

Abstract

It has been proven that there is a connection between the physical environment and health outcomes. Low income and minority communities live in hazardous environments and bear a disproportionate burden of environmental health disparities. Environmental hazards imposed on low income and minority communities require the immediate attention of social workers. Social workers are in a unique position to ensure that the health and well being of oppressed groups is not compromised by environmental factors. This study examined the environmental health awareness of 90 licensed social workers. More specifically, this study assessed the following information from social workers: (1) familiarity with environmental hazards, (2) knowledge of environmental health problems, (3) knowledge of environmental legislation, (4) professional practice of screening clients for past and present exposure to environmental pollutants, (5) professional experiences with receiving environmental concerns from clients, (6) professional practice of advocating for the environmental health of clients, and (7) professional opinions about the need to train and educate social work students and professionals on environmental health. This study asserts that social workers can protect the environmental health of distressed communities across the micro-macro spectrum.

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