Recommended Literature: Understanding Epigenetics within Social Work


Do environmental factors play a role in altering a person’s health outlook? Can historical trauma endured from generations ago perpetually affect the genetic makeup of generations to come? Scientists are discovering that a person is susceptible to many diseases when environmental factors, diet, stress, or incessant stress, genetically alter their gene expressions.

The expanding field of epigenetics has drawn the attention of social workers. In her article “Epigenetics and the Social Work Imperative” Professor Terri Combs-Orme, of the University of Tennessee, College of Social Work, defines epigenesis, the effects of epigenetics, and the role of social workers. The relevance of Professor Combs-Orme’s article is timely and pertinent, expounding the field of social work, and calling social workers to action.

A link and citation to the literature are below:

Terri Combs-Orme; Epigenetics and the Social Work Imperative. Soc. Work 2013; 58 (1): 23-30. doi: 10.1093/sw/sws052. Retrieved from

Photo Credit: NeuPaddy, Pixabay, License: CC Public Domain

Aneeta Pearson, MSW, MS


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Aneeta Pearson

Aneeta Pearson is a social worker passionate about protecting children and a proud University of Michigan Alumna, Go Blue!

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