March is National Social Work Month

March 11, 2020  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees

Each year, the month of March is dedicated to celebrating and honoring the work that social workers across the country are doing each and every day. Michigan Medicine is home to more than 400 social workers, and the reach of Social Work across inpatient and outpatient settings within the hospitals and outpatient centers is vast and ever growing.

The mission of social workers at Michigan Medicine is “to promote the health and well-being of patients, families and communities across the lifespan.”

Social workers at Michigan Medicine accomplish this through direct clinical care in medical and mental health settings, program development, project management, academic and clinical research efforts, community outreach and leadership, advocacy and education.

Social workers in direct patient care

In 2019, Michigan Medicine social workers invested more than 250,000 hours of time in direct patient care, with approximately 260,000 distinct clinical interactions. Over 65,000 unique patients received services provided by a social worker in 668 clinical areas across the health system.

Social workers serve the most vulnerable populations, and in 2019 there were 5,100 distinct patient encounters in the Guest Assistance Program. The Guest Assistance Program is led and staffed by social workers, and harbors tangible resources to help reduce barriers to equal access to health care such as transportation, lodging and prescription assistance.

Social work recognition

At Michigan Medicine, exemplary social workers are recognized annually with the Beverly Jean Howard Award for Excellence in Social Work and the Anita Clos Outstanding BSW Award. This year’s winner of the Beverly Jean Howard award was Mary Grambeau, LMSW from Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and winner of the Anita Clos BSW of the Year was Chris Kozel, LBSW, from the Congenital Heart Center.

The MSW nominations for the Beverly Jean Howard Award were: Leah Brock, John Carey, Viripan (Gift) Chowchuvech, Tracey Doss-Simmons, Nicole Hall, Amy Hansen, Brenda Hess, Diana Kenney, Anna Konigsberg, Haley Moraniec, James Muto, Kristin New, Rebecca Noel, Leslie Pertz, Aryana Robbins, Brittany Shupe-Sawyer, Patty Teubert-Worpell, Hannah Tucci and Michelle Wilkins.

The BSW nominations were: Maya Rowland, Gloria Tonks and Emily New.

Congratulations to all of the winners and nominees, as each is a unique representation of excellence in Social Work at Michigan Medicine.

Social workers in education

The health system invites students from U-M, Wayne State, Western Michigan, Michigan State, Eastern Michigan University, and Siena Heights Schools of Social Work, hosting approximately 60 MSW and BSW social work interns throughout the year.

This year, the team welcomed the first Simmons School of Social Work intern and are preparing to host another global student from Zambia.

Social work students are offered a variety of innovative learning opportunities: students may participate in simulations, in which they partner with students from other disciplines to practice breaking bad news or conflict management; students may also participate in off-site learning, attending programs focused on assessment and communication at an art museum, community resources for patients without health insurance, or health behavior change at a low-income housing center.

More recently, the Social Work Education Committee is focusing on continuing to develop the program by building opportunities in leadership development, community-based social work and interprofessional collaboration.

Social workers across the U.S.

On a national level, this year’s National Association of Social Workers Social Work Month theme is “Social Workers: Generations Strong.” The Social work profession is dedicated to enhancing well-being and helping meet the basic needs of all people, especially those who are vulnerable, oppressed and living in poverty.

The theme highlights the social workers in the profession who span from The Silent Generation to Generation Z, and are working together to shape society for the better.

During the month of March, take time to celebrate the social workers you may know, to learn more about the profession and support the work of social workers in improving the lives of individuals and families right here in the Michigan Medicine community.

To learn more about the NASW theme and campaign, visit:

To view information about the Social Work Department at Michigan Medicine, visit:

To visit the Guest Assistance Program Website: