LinkedIn Members Only

AVASW Hall Of Fame   HOFHome

We Welcome Your

Disclaimer: This website is not sponsored by, endorsed by, or officially affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The contents of this website are the sole responsibility of AVASW. 



AVASW Social Worker of the Quarter 2013



AVASW Social Worker of the Quarter 1
Rita Torres, LCSW

Rita Torres

The AVASW Membership  committee voted unanimously to select Rita Torres, LCSW as our first Social Worker of the Quarter (1st QTR 2013)! Ms. Torres serves as Social Worker for the War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center at East Orange, New Jersey. In her role there, she assists in the mission of the WRIISCs to develop and provide post-deployment health expertise to Veterans and their health care providers through clinical programs, research, education, and risk communication.

Rita is also a very active member of the Association and participates in a number of AVASW Promotions. Through her work and service, Ms. Torres puts the Mission, Vision and Values of AVASW into action every day and is an exemplary Social Worker and member of the Association. She provides outreach and support to her colleagues by serving as an AVASW Point of Contact for her medical center, actively assisting the Association with outreach efforts, and supports the education and professionalism of VA Social Workers by disseminating information of interest, articles, and also by participating in State Social Work conferences.

Congratulations, Rita! And, thank you for your service to our Veterans and AVASW.


AVASW Social Worker of the Quarter 3
Jimalee Ross, LCSW

Jimalee Ross-3rd Quarter SWS Award

AVASW is proud to select Jimalee Ross as the Social Worker of the 3rd Quarter!  Ms. Ross currently serves as the Caregiver Support Coordinator at the Lexington, VA Medical Center.  She assumed this role in March of 2011 and was instrumental in the initial implementation of Omnibus Budget Act of 2010 as the first applications for the Comprehensive Family Caregiver Benefit were accepted by the VA.  Since its inception, Ms. Ross has processed 250 applications serving Veterans and their family caregivers.  Ms. Ross is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with advanced practice certifications of Academy of Certified Social Workers and Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work and is a graduate of the Lead Program. 

In addition to the hat she wears as the Caregiver Support Coordinator, Ms. Ross is also known to wear a few more as she contributes to a variety of services across her medical center, providing professional social work representation to multidisciplinary committees.  As a member of DEMPS Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System and the local Decontamination Team, she reports to the decontamination area in the event of the facility emergency plan being activated to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or explosive event.  She dons PPE Personal Protective Equipment and works with a team to decontaminate patients exposed to contaminants.  She also serves on the local facility Emergency Management Committee and serves as a member-at-large on the Area Agency on Aging local board.  She is also a member of her facility’s Social Work Professional Standards board.  Prior to her current role as CGS Coordinator, Ms. Ross has also served as her facility Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator and a Rural Health Advocate during her service at the VA. 

Ms. Ross recently presented in the 2013 Mental Health Summit on Aging Veterans and Working with Veteran Families through co-facilitated workgroups on the Aging Veteran and Working with Veteran Families.Current   collaborative work efforts include participation with the local Military Family Taskforce and the Kentucky Military Family Caregiver Network – a state-wide multi-disciplinary initiative to reach out to Kentucky Military and Veteran families. 

Ms. Ross feels that promoting collaboration between organizations will provide access to and increase awareness of services available, increase the support, and provide needed education to military and Veteran Caregivers.  Ms. Ross hopes to take personal experience from living in a Rural Area and working in mental health to better serve our Military families and Veterans through supporting thse who support them.

Congratulations Jimalee!





AVASW Social Worker of the Year 2013

AVASW Social Worker of the Quarter 2
Linda Avery, LCSW

Linda Avery

The AVASW Membership committee voted unanimously to select Linda Avery, LCSW as our second Social Worker of the Quarter (2nd QTR 2013)!.  Linda is a Senior Social Worker at the Conroe, TX CBOC for the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center (MEDVAMC) in Houston.  Linda is an active AVASW member at the local level who represents our profession and Association in a multitude of ways.  Linda was most recently the Social Work Clinical Care Coordinator for the MEDVAMC.  In this capacity Linda coordinated the care of severely injured Veterans being cared for in their homes.  This required her to work closely with Facility Leadership, Care Line Executives, VISN representatives, VACO Care Managers, Polytrauma Center staff and Tri-Care Case Managers in order to obtain and coordinate care, supplies and equipments for these young me. Her work also included emotional support for their families and the primary point of contact for their needs, as they adjusted to life at home after leaving a Level One Polytrauma Center. 

Linda has also been actively involved with the Association of Oncology Social Work, having presented at previous conferences on the role of Oncology Social Workers in the VA.   She was on this year’s planning committee and actively recruited other AVASW Members and VA Social Workers to present.  Her work and enthusiasm for her profession is recognized by many.

Linda just returned from a two and a half week trip to Vietnam with Humanitarian NGO – Vets With a Mission, an organization begun by Vietnam Veterans building medical clinics in-country and delivering medical care to the medically un-served.  During her time in Vietnam, Linda assisted with the registration of patients at the clinics, getting to know the Vietnamese people on a personal level and enjoying the cultural sites of the country. 

Congratulations, Linda! And, thank you for your service to our Veterans and AVASW!


AVASW Social Worker of the Quarter 4
Billie Crank, LCSW

Jimalee Ross-3rd Quarter SWS Award

Ms. Billie Crank, LCSW, Program Manager of the OEF/OIF/OND Team, exemplifies the highest Social Work standards and values in her practice here at the Huntington, VAMC. Due to clinical acumen, exceptional interpersonal and leadership skills, and superior customer service, she has enhanced and developed the OEF/OIF/OND Program in several significant areas. Under Ms. Crank’s leadership, the previously “under-performing” program was recognized by the VISN Director for its superior performance measure results.

Along with her primary responsibilities, Ms. Crank has repeatedly volunteered for additional responsibilities including Outreach for the entire medical center. She has actively facilitated and participated in over 70 outreach programs and has successfully enrolled Veterans at the Huntington VAMC. One such outreach that Ms. Crank co-led along with a community partner, The Welcome Home/Veterans Expo, was extraordinarily successful, obtaining employment for over twenty Veterans and enrolling new Veterans in the Huntington VAMC healthcare system. As the OEF/OIF/OND Program Manager, Ms. Billie Crank has been instrumental in the development and growth of the Huntington VAMC OEF/OIF/OND Program. MS. Crank is highly recognized by leadership as well as her peers as being committed to Veterans and is a mentor to many social workers here at the Huntington VAMC.

In addition to the aforementioned professionalism exhibited by Mrs. Billie Crank, the following achievements and recognitions should be noted:

  • -Mentor for Polytrauma/Amputee Program
    -Social Work Service Partner
    -MSW Field Supervisor for the Social Work Student Program
    -OEF/OIF/OND Team new employee orientation
    -Volunteer/Member of the “Huntington 15” who will conduct VA wide Patient Centered Care training.
    -Highly involved in Wounded Warrior Project
    -POC for DoD and VA Liaison’s for transfers
    -POC for Military Treatment Facilities

Congratulations, Billi!



©2018 AVASW. All rights reserved.