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AVASW Social Worker of the Quarter 2014

AVASW Social Worker of the 1st Quarter
Emma Meredith, LCSW

EmmaMeredith

AVASW is proud to announce Emma Meredith as the Social Worker of the 1st Quarter, 2014!   Ms. Meredith currently serves on the PACT team as a Primary Care Social Worker at the VA Clinic in Evansville, Indiana.  She was part of the genesis implementing the program at the CBOC, in which she states this was a “wonderful experience”.  She holds her ACSW, as well as her DCSW, her BCD designation, and is CSW-G and C-ASWCM certified. In addition to having consulted with outside Hospice centers, she shares her social work expertise as a supervisor for BSW and MSW students. She belongs to AVASW, NASW and the Patriot Guard of Evansville, IN. Most recently in 2013 she was elected NASW Social Worker of the year for the state of Indiana! She had been nominated in Region 8, won that award, and had no idea she would go on to be nominated and selected for the entire State.  She was humbly happy to be recognized.
For ten years Ms. Meredith had a “personal mission” to provide clothing and other items once a month to a local military base.  In recognition of her efforts she received a personal thank you note from General David Petraeus. She has also been actively engaged in connecting care packages to soldiers in war-torn areas. Ms. Meredith lives her values, and it shows by her volunteer work with the Ladies of Charity, Little Sisters of the Poor and developing a “prayer garden” for military and Veterans.  In a presentation for grief and loss, she wrote a reflection ‘Thirteen Wooden Crosses’, in memory of the Ft. Hood massacre, which was also published in a Social Work journal.  Ms. Meredith has been awarded the Mother Teresa Service Award for her commitment to our military and Veterans.
Ms. Meredith has already begun to look at ways to improve the Hospice and Palliative care services at her locality.  She took a workshop dealing directly with decisions on treatment for the newly diagnosed terminally ill, stating “I look for a way to better serve the Veteran”.  She views her passion to care for others as a way of life; stating, there is a “special place in my heart” for terminally ill Veterans.
When asked what roles she is most proud of, she answers “I love what I do".  She goes on to say she is very proud to be able to hear the Veterans stories and honored they “entrust me with that information”.  

Congratulations Emma!

AVASW Social Worker of the 2nd Quarter
Ruth Baker, LCSW

EmmaMeredith

AVASW is proud to announce Ruth Baker, LCSW as the Social Worker of the 2nd Quarter, 2014!  Mrs. Baker currently serves as the Social Work Clinical Manager for Mental Health and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Coordinator at Hines VA Medical Center.  Ruth has worn many social work hats during her 23 year career at Hines VA working in positions ranging from mental health therapist to spinal cord injury home care team member to Social Work Clinical Manager in various departments.  Ruth states that she has always had a lifelong interest in the field of social work, but started off on a different path in business and organizational development.  Not surprising to hear that this was Ruth’s background as she told us that if she wasn’t a social worker that she would be a Chef, Event Planner, Interior Designer, or a Docent in an Art Museum!  Social Work became her second career after she had explored her interest in social work by volunteering at different organizations such as Hospice and Parent/Stress Hotline.  In her current position, Ruth supervises 21 social workers who work in various Mental Health programs including Suicide Prevention, MHICM, Mental Health Clinic, Inpatient psychiatry, Mental Health Intake, PRRC, Emergency Department, and MST.  Under Ruth’s supervision and mentorship, many of her staff and these programs have received National recognition for the outstanding care provided to Veterans.  Ruth is a true champion of social work and is seen as a “go to” social worker at our facility.  If you walk down the halls with Ruth, everyone from Veterans to Chiefs of Service to EMS staff knows her and says Hello with a smile.  Because of her relationships around the facility, she has helped leadership in her facility see the value of social work and recognize that social workers are leaders and key members of any team.  Ruth is what social work is all about – challenging yourself, being useful, being a team player, and supporting your fellow social worker.  Ruth is invested in the future of VA social workers as she developed a New Employee Support Group for new VA social workers at her facility that helps new hires learn about the VA and all that social workers can do for our Veterans.  When we asked Ruth what she likes most about being a VA social worker, she said, “I never get tired of hearing the stories from our Veterans.  Their stories of resilience always resonate with me.”  After working for 23 years as a VA social worker, Ruth is pretty resilient herself.  She has seen the VA and VA social work go thru many changes but at the end of day stands by the mission of VA and serves our Nation’s heroes with pride. 

Congratulations, Ruth!

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