Faculty Publications

Title

Ida Cannon, Ethel Cohen, and early medical social work in Boston: The foundations of a model of culturally competent social service

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Social Service Review

Volume

81

Issue

1

First Page

27

Last Page

45

Abstract

Early medical social workers Ida Cannon and Ethel Cohen formulated innovative models of hospital social service in Boston. As directors of the social service departments of Massachusetts General and Beth Israel Hospitals, respectively, they ensured that medical social work developed as a profession. They also formulated standards of patient care and educated health-care professionals about the social aspects of medicine. This study analyzes the work of Cannon and Cohen within the contexts of progressivism, professionalization, immigration, and ethnic identity. It proposes that Cohen adopted key aspects of Cannon's model of hospital social service but revised it to further accommodate the particular ethnic needs of Jewish immigrants, who were not well served in Boston's hospital structure. Cohen's work provides an early model of culturally competent social work practice. © 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Original Publication Date

3-1-2007

DOI of published version

10.1086/511013

Share

COinS