March is Social Work Month – a time to celebrate the social work profession and the great accomplishments of social workers. It’s also a time to bring awareness to the many ways social workers work to improve and support their local communities.
This year’s theme for Social Work Month is “The Time is Right for Social Workers”. With nearly 720,000 social workers in our nation, social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since social workers perform such life-affirming services, more and more people are entering the field of social work due to the increased need for these services. The National Association of Social Workers shares insight on why the time is right for social workers: “This is especially true as our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism, economic inequality, global warming, and other crises.”
HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM) is grateful to have a dedicated workforce of individuals who care about the community they live in. HCAM is honored to have social workers as part of our team across four departments: Care Coordination, MATCH, Complex Care & Social Needs, and Eligibility.
Read below to hear from two HCAM staff members about their experience as a social worker and how their professional background has helped them in their current role at HCAM.
Meet Janelle Olaibi, Deputy Director of Outreach and Administrative Care Coordination with HCAM’s Care Coordination Program. Janelle provides oversight, direction, and leadership to the Care Coordination Program, a 40-member team. She evaluates operations for quality of work, regulatory compliance, and the effectiveness of services to clients. She also facilitates provider outreach meetings to educate about the role and services provided by the Administrative Care Coordination Unit. One of the many notable achievements of her career at HCAM is that she serves as a member of the Baltimore City Child Fatality Review Board and the Maternal Mortality Review Board.
Janelle entered the field of Social Work in 2001 due to her passion for advocacy in the areas of child welfare and medical social work. She earned her master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Maryland Baltimore with a concentration in Child, Adolescent and Family Health. She holds a professional license as a Clinical Social Worker.
How has your Social Work degree prepared you for your role at HCAM? “I came to the leadership position in the Care Coordination Program after more than twelve years of working in clinical positions in the Baltimore City area. My professional experience and knowledge have shaped my areas of expertise in policy analysis, program management, and strategic planning.”
Meet Monica Capers, Social Work Medical Case Manager with HCAM’s MATCH (Making All the Children Healthy) Program. In Monica’s role on the Behavioral Health team, she assists caregivers and child welfare workers with coordination of health and behavioral health appointments for youth in out-of-home placements. She assists with ensuring that the support team is made aware of the health needs of youth, and that needs are being met in a timely manner by providing recommendations and resource assistance.
Monica has always wanted to help individuals in some way, even as a young child. When entering college, she chose to study Psychology. By the end of her undergraduate program, she became more aware that this degree was not the only way to fulfill her passion to help others. She quickly decided that Social Work was the right fit for her and completed her Master’s in Clinical Social Work at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. She is now a Licensed Certified Social Worker – Clinical, and a Maryland Board Approved Social Work Supervisor.
How has your Social Work degree prepared you for your role at HCAM? “My degree program provided me with the foundation and knowledge of the theoretical frameworks of general social work practice. This, along with core values and ethics instilled in me through my education and childhood have prepared me for my role at HCAM with the MATCH program. Overall, my degree provided me with so many transferrable skills such as empathy, problem-solving, documentation, confidentiality and most importantly teamwork, just to name a few. I utilize these skills daily in my current role alongside other social workers, nurses, care coordinators and administrative staff. Social Work is such a diverse profession, but my coursework and field internships helped foster my assessment and case management skills to support and assist in ways that can lead to better health outcomes for youth in foster care.”