Jessica Johnson, a clinical social worker at the IHS Western Oregon Service Unit, provides direct service counseling and prevention services to students at the Bureau of Indian Education, Chemawa Indian Boarding School, and coordinates trauma-informed care efforts within the service unit. Jessica and approximately 177 other social workers across IHS are working with health care providers throughout Indian Country and are making a difference in the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs).
March is National Social Work Month, and the IHS would like to recognize and thank social workers like Jessica and throughout Indian Country for the tremendous work they do.
The primary mission of the social work profession is to enhance well-being and help meet the basic needs of all people, especially the most vulnerable in society. Social workers work daily to help AI/ANs to overcome substance use disorders and mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Social workers provide essential services to IHS patients and strengthen the delivery of quality behavioral health care to ensure positive health outcomes. IHS recognizes social workers as an invaluable resource and supports efforts to recruit, retain and develop AI/AN social workers by partnering with leading educational institutions to provide internship opportunities to social work students. Increasing AI/AN social workers within the Indian health system strengthens the cultural sensitivity of service delivery and creates opportunity for community partnership with IHS facilities.
In recognition of the numerous contributions made by social workers throughout Indian Country, please join us in celebrating March as National Social Work Month.
Miranda Carman is a Public Health Advisor in the IHS Division of Behavioral Health and serves at the Mental Health Lead. Miranda is a clinical social worker and a citizen of the Muscogee Creek Nation of Oklahoma.