HONOLULU " The Department of Social Work, or DSW, at Tripler Army Medical Center and Schofield Barracks Health Clinic, provides comprehensive social work services to all Pacific Regional Medical Command beneficiaries.

Each March, the nation recognizes professional social workers and this year's theme is "Social Work Matters."

According to Warren Aoki, Family Advocacy Program supervisor, SBHC, the military social work mission is to enhance the social well-being of all personnel entitled to care and to ultimately enhance mission readiness.

"To meet our mission we have a high-quality staff of licensed professional clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, mental health specialists, social work administrators and clerical staff," Aoki said. "(We have) active duty social work officers and civilian providers, who provide discharge planning services, domestic violence and child abuse and neglect intervention, and those who provide individual, marital and family therapy."

Aoki said besides the DSW at TAMC and SBHC, there are social workers employed in other departments and clinics throughout Tripler and SBHC, such as in the Exceptional Family Member Program, Psychology, Psychiatry, and the Warrior Transition Battalion.

Social workers assist families dealing with end-of-life issues, grief and loss issues; those facing the challenges of chronic medical conditions or acute traumas and injuries; children dealing with abuse and neglect and their parents; and couples coping with the strain of multiple deployments and other common issues that military couples experience.

DSW has been involved in a number of innovative pilot projects.

In 2010, the Family Advocacy Program, in conjunction with the 25th Infantry Division and the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, aligned clinical social workers to improve communication and collaboration between primary care providers and the chains of command.

Currently, DSW is embedding FAP social workers within the military police stations at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter during weekend hours to improve coordination between social work and law enforcement to increase access to care when responding to police calls.