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ANTHC thanks its social workers during Professional Social Work Month

April 8, 2016

March was Professional Social Work Month, which raised awareness about professional social workers and their commitment to improving social conditions and quality of life opportunities for everyone. Professional Social Work Month provides an opportunity to recognize ANTHC’s dedicated social workers and the valuable services they provide at the ANMC hospital.

The ANMC hospital has seven medical social workers – Deanna Thomas, LCSW; Beverly Harper, MSW; and Alexandra Draper, MSW, working in the adult inpatient units; Cynthia Burton, LCSW, working in Maternal Child Health; Billie Kelley, LMSW, working in Oncology; Karen Hollar, LCSW, working in Palliative Care; and Michelle Kimbrell, LCSW, working on the Transitional Care Team. All hold master’s degrees in social work and complete their duties following national practice standards, code of ethics and state licensing requirements.

“Our social workers are such an integral part of our team at ANMC,” said Shelia Draper-Johnston, RN, Discharge Care Coordinator. “They educate and advocate on behalf of those who do not always have the power or voice to advocate for themselves.”

ANMC’s social workers work collaboratively with ANMC health care providers and individuals from other community agencies and perform a variety of duties, including psychosocial assessment and planning for patients with a variety of complex social needs; providing social services plans to restore patients to optimum health within the patient’s capacity; working with patients’ families, health care providers and communities to develop and implement a safe discharge plan; providing end-of-life support to patients and families, including grief counseling and burial assistance; and assisting patients and families to navigate local, state and federal agencies to apply for financial benefits, housing and in-home supports.

“ANTHC’s social workers are happy to know that the care they provide is important, appreciated, and makes a difference in the lives of the Alaska Native and American Indian people they serve” added Draper-Johnston.

Banners were hung throughout ANMC for the month of March to celebrate Professional Social Work Month. ANTHC’s social workers were each recognized and a special lunch was held in recognition of their service.

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