March is National Social Work Month

March 3, 2021  //  FOUND IN: Accolades and Milestones

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 the Department of Social Work across inpatient and outpatient settings 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 2020, Michigan Medicine social workers invested more than 255,000 hours of time in direct patient care, with approximately 264,000 distinct clinical interactions. Over 62,500 unique patients received services provided by a social worker in 673 clinical areas across the health system.

Social workers serve the most vulnerable populations.   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 Brian Nickerson, LMSW from the UH/CVC and winner of the Anita Clos BSW of the Year was Kristina Precaj, LBSW from The Guest Assistance Main office and part of the Peds/OB team.

The MSW nominations for the Beverly Jean Howard Award were: Theresa Arnold-Robinson, Alexandria Suzanne-Meyer Betke, Brittany Carey, John Carey, Andrea DeKam, Nancy Dodson, Sarah Doll, Debra Fields-Pettigrew, Carly Fritsch, Charisa Giddings, Darla Goulet, Nicole Hall, Ashley M Jentz, Diana Kenney, Kristine Konz, Marie L Krause, Dawnielle Morano, Brian Nickerson, Bethany Ponichter, Jillian Randazzo, Michelle Robinson, Najda Robinson-Mayer, Tanya Smith, James S Svensson, Patricia Teubert-Worpell, Meghan Thiel, Robin Williams, and Laura Zeitlin.

The BSW nominations were: Kristina Precaj

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.  Throughout these difficult times, social workers at Michigan Medicine adapted field placements to continue to offer a quality learning experience for all students in a safe and meaningful way.

Social workers in Care Management:

Within the inpatient settings at Michigan Medicine, Care Management social workers are responsible for addressing a variety of patient needs, which includes maintaining the social work intervention compliance for both the adult and pediatric Level 1 Trauma programs.

Social workers across the U.S.:

The National Associations of Social Workers (NASW) dedicated this Social Work Month’s theme to “Social Workers Are Essential.”  This embodies the heroic contributions of the Social Work profession to our nation, including the work Social Workers have done to heal our nation during these times of pandemic, racial unrest, economic uncertainty and political divisiveness.

The nation needs more social workers as it continues to deal with entrenched problems that have stressed our society, including systemic racism and the Coronavirus pandemic. The United States is also experiencing one of its worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. Social workers are on the front lines, helping people overcome these crises.

There are more than 700,000 professional social workers employed in the United States, and more than three million worldwide. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to identify social work as one of the fastest growing professions in the United States.

During the month of March, be sure to take time to celebrate the social workers you may know, learn more about the profession and support the work of social workers in improving the lives of individuals and families!