Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration Social Worker (Health Behavior Coordinator) in Des Moines, Iowa

Job Overview

Job Overview

Vacancy Identification Number (VIN): 1999247

OUR MISSION: To fulfill President Lincoln's promise – "To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" – by serving and honoring the men and women who are America's Veterans. How would you like to become a part of a team providing compassionate care to Veterans?

The VA Central Iowa Health Care System provides a full continuum of care between the Des Moines Campus and our Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) and is one of the Medical Centers that make up the VA Midwest Health Care Network (VISN 23). Employee selected may be expected to perform duties at other duty sites within VA Central Iowa Health Care System based on the needs of the organization.

As a VA professional, your opportunities are endless. Not only is it the largest, most technologically advanced integrated health care system in the Nation, but we also provide many other services to Veterans through the Benefits Administration and National Cemeteries. VA professionals feel good about their careers and their ability to balance work and home life. VA offers generous paid time off and a variety of predictable and flexible scheduling opportunities. For more information on the Department of Veteran Affairs, go to

VA encourages persons with disabilities to apply. The health related positions in VA are covered by Title 38, and are not covered by the Schedule A excepted appointment authority.


Clinical Responsibilities:

  1. Serves as the lead clinical consultant to the medical center staff on health coaching.
  • Maintains awareness of, and provides consultation on, the evidence basis for health behavior interventions to promote health and prevent disease and effective health coaching methods by medical center staff.

  • Works with Primary Care and Nursing leadership to provide specific training and consultation with Primary Care Nurses and others to facilitate effective health coaching (e.g., coaching to support health behavior change and patient self-management) and build and maintain competencies in health coaching.

  • Contributes to training of primary care PACT staff and others in evidence-based strategies to effectively communicate with, motivate, coach and support patients to address health behavior risks and adopt health behavior that prevent illness and promote well-being. These strategies include: clarifying personal goals for HPDP change, developing individualized patient self-management plans, and helping patients to maintain healthy behaviors over time.

  1. In close collaboration with the HPDP Program Manager and others, plans, develops, adapts, implements, and assesses efficacy of health behavior interventions for the promotion of health and to address health risk behaviors as part of disease prevention and chronic disease management and they will recommend programmatic changes (e.g., weight loss and management, tobacco use cessation, patient involvement in care and self-management, physical activity adoption, eating wisely, stress management, limiting unhealthy alcohol use).

  2. In collaboration with the Tobacco Cessation Lead Clinician, supports and contributes to existing tobacco use cessation clinical initiatives in primary care and smoking cessation specialty programs or clinics, and evaluates the need for possible expansion of services.

  3. In collaboration with the MOVE Coordinator, contributes to existing weight management programs, such as MOVE.

  4. Provides supervision of social work trainees conducting direct clinical care.

  5. Consults with medical center staff on a wide variety of patient care issues.

  6. Engages in clinical administrative duties including:

  • Scheduling of Veterans and related issues.

  • Returning Veterans' phone calls and secure messaging.

  • Writing reports.

  • Attending clinic organizational meetings.

Work Schedule: Variable

Functional Statement: Social Worker - Health Behavior Coordinator

Supervisory Status


Travel Required
  • Not Required
Relocation Authorized
  • No
Who May Apply
This job is open to…

1st Area of Consideration - Current, Permanent VA Central Iowa Health Care System Employees; 2nd Area of Consideration - Current, Permanent VA Employees; 3rd Area of Consideration - Current, Permanent Federal Employees Only.

Questions? This job is open to 2 groups.

Job Requirements

Job Requirements
Key Requirements
  • Must pass pre-employment examination
  • Must be proficient in written and spoken English
  • Designated and-or Random Drug Testing required
  • Background and-or Security Investigation required
  • Selective Service Registration is required for males born after 12/31/1959.

Basic Requirements:

Citizenship:U.S. Citizen. (Non-citizens may be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with chapter 3, section A, paragraph 3g this part.)

Education: Must have a Master's degree in Social Work from a school of Social Work fully accredited by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). Graduates of schools of Social Work that area in candidacy status do not meet this requirement until they school of Social is full accredited. A Doctoral degree in Social Work may not be substituted for the Master's degree in Social Work.

Licensure: A Social Work Coordinator must be licensed or certified by a state at the advanced practice level which included an Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) advanced generalist or clinical examination, unless they are grandfathered by the state in which they are licensed to practice at the advanced practice level (except for licenses issued in California, which administers its own clinical examination for advanced practice). Social Work Coordinators may have certification or other post-masters training from a nationally recognized professional organization or university that includes a defined curriculum/course of study and internship or equivalent supervised professional experience in a specialty.

Social Work Program Coordinators and Managers: For Social Worker Program Coordinators, grades are determined by the scope of responsibility and the type, size, and complexity of the assignment.

Experience: Social Work Coordinators have experience that demonstrates possession of advanced practice skills and judgment. At least two years should be in an area of specialized social practice. In addition, the candidates must demonstrate the professional KSAs below:

  1. Knowledge of, and ability to apply, advanced professional psychological theories and techniques to the full range of patient populations.

  2. Ability to provide professional advice and consultation in areas related to health behavior change and patient-centered communication, including MI and health coaching.

  3. Knowledge of clinical research literature related to behavioral medicine, health psychology, prevention, and health behavior change.

  4. Knowledge of, and ability to effectively develop and implement, health behavior assessments and interventions for the promotion of health and to address health risk behaviors (e.g., weight loss and management, tobacco use cessation, patient involvement in care and self-management, physical activity adoption, eating wisely, stress management, limiting unhealthy alcohol use) as part of disease prevention and chronic disease management.

  5. Ability to train, coach, mentor, and support primary care PACT health care team members who provide evidence-based health behavior change interventions in a wide range of modalities (e.g., individual visits, telephone encounters, secure messaging, video teleconferencing, group visits, shared medical appointments) at facilities and CBOCs.

  6. Skill in consulting with and supporting the other prevention and health education team members in delivering prevention and health behavior change services and programs.

  7. Knowledge of, and ability to utilize, existing evidence-based behavioral medicine resource materials and preventive medicine tools and to develop new materials when needed.

  8. Knowledge of primary care clinic functioning and ability to adapt preventive interventions and services to align with a primary care culture that is characterized by advanced access, continuity, team-based care, care coordination, and use of fast-paced, brief interventions to address health behavior change.

  9. Ability to provide health behavior assessment and intervention with patients with multiple co-morbidities and/or chronic diseases, special needs, and complex clinical problems, and to perform specialized prevention-related assessments and interventions, (e.g., tobacco cessation, self-management support).

  10. Ability to communicate effectively orally and in writing with a diverse group of professional staff and management officials.

NOTE: If Social Workers covered under the grandfathering provision of the 1991 Federal law regarding licensure or certification of VHA Social Workers leave the GS-185 Social Work series, they lose the grandfathering protection. If they choose to return at a later date to the GS-185 series, they must be licensed or certified to qualify for employment as a Social Worker.

Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience, including volunteer work done through National Service programs (e.g., Peace Corps, AmeriCorps) and other organizations (e.g., professional; philanthropic; religions; spiritual; community; student; social). Volunteer work helps build critical competencies, knowledge, and skills and can provide valuable training and experience that translates directly to paid employment. You will receive credit for all qualifying experience, including volunteer experience.

References: VA Handbook 5005, Part II, Appendix G39 at

Note: Only education or degrees recognized by the U.S. Department of Education from accredited colleges, universities, schools, or institutions may be used to qualify for Federal employment. You can verify your education here: If you are using foreign education to meet qualification requirements, you must send a Certificate of Foreign Equivalency with your transcript in order to receive credit for that education.

Physical Requirements:Moderate walking and standing, Near vision correctable at 13" to 16" to Jaeger 1 to 4, Far vision correctable in one eye to 20/20 and to 20/40 in the other, Hearing (aid permitted), Clear speech, Emotional stability.

Security Clearance


Additional Information

Additional Information
What To Expect Next

After we receive application packages (including all required documents) and the vacancy announcement closes, we will review applications to ensure qualification and eligibility requirements are met. During our review, if your résumé and application package do not support your questionnaire answers, we will adjust your rating accordingly. After the review is complete, a referral certificate(s) is issued and applicants will be notified of their status by email (if provided); otherwise, applicants will receive a notification letter via the U.S. Postal Service. Referred applicants will be notified as such and may be contacted directly by the hiring office for an interview. All referred applicants receive a final notification once a selection decision has been made.

You may check the status of your application at any time by logging into your USAJOBS account and clicking on “Application Status.” For a more detailed update of your status, click on “more information.” Information regarding applicant notification points

can be found in the USAJobs Resource Center.


VA offers a comprehensive benefits package. This link provides an overview of the benefits currently offered:

This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

Other Information

It is the policy of the VA to not deny employment to those that have faced financial hardships or periods of unemployment.

This position is in the Excepted Service and does not confer competitive status.

This job originated on For the full announcement and to apply, visit Only resumes submitted according to the instructions on the job announcement listed at will be considered.

Open & closing dates: 2017-08-11 to 2017-10-27

Salary: $72,168 to $93,821 / per year

Pay scale & grade: GS 12

Series: 0185 Social Work

Appointment type: Agency Employees Only

Work schedule: Full Time

Job announcement number: CIH-17-1999247-SC-BU-OCA

Control number: 476868100