By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
NYC Health + Hospitals honored 36 dedicated Social Workers at its first Social Worker Recognition ceremony held at Gouvernuer’s Hospital in March, Social Workers Month.
“You help Health and Hospitals remain committed to its mission to serve regardless of the patient’s ability to pay, and we value the great work you do,” said Dr. Rosa Colon Kalacko, who coordinated the event.
For decades licensed Social Workers have worked alongside doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals with compassion, strength and dignity helping families through health crises. On March 31, management recognized Social Workers as “equal partners with other licensed professional clinicians, not just support staff.”
H+H culled a list of the “best of the best” employed in their expansive system of hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes and clinics to recognize these valued Social Workers and their hard work.
H+H chose from nominees whose names were submitted by colleagues and supervisors for going above and beyond to excel at meeting patients’ needs.
Over a century ago Health and Hospitals’ premier institution, Bellevue Hospital, was one of the first in the nation to employ Social Workers, recognizing the correlation between the condition of the patient, their connection to family and their home environment.
Today, Social Workers help people not just with physical health problems and needs, but they also address a variety of complex and stigmatizing issues, such as immigration status, mental health, addictions, dependencies, and more.
“There will never be enough thank-yous for all the work you do despite the challenges you face daily— understaffed, under-resourced and underfunded,” said Local 768 President Fitz Reid, who represents some 800 licensed Social Workers at H+H. “The union will continue to protect you, to advocate for you, and today we celebrate you.
“We know the hospitals’ fiscal problems cannot be solved on your backs. Even as Trumpcare failed, the union is fighting for more funding from the city and state to assuage the deficits,” Reid said. “We applaud you and your coworkers for all you do. Respect at the workplace does not cost money. We deserve it. We demand it. We stand with you.”