Alaska is a state like no other, explained Meg Loomis, executive director of that state’s NASW chapter since October.
“Hence, social work here is like no other,” Loomis said. “The size and population of our state allow for many career prospects, especially for emerging social workers. There is a great deal of demand and respect for the profession in our state.”
Loomis served for two years on the chapter’s board of directors when the executive director position became available. She previously worked as the Behavioral Health Consultant for the Southcentral Foundation Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic in Anchorage, providing ongoing guidance to 37 medical providers about patients’ behavioral health needs.
She noted she was encouraged to apply for the executive director position by a fellow board member.
“While I have enjoyed my work in the clinical arena, I was most attracted to the position because of the freedom I have to try to innovate solutions to advance the profession in our state,” she said. “We have a strong and energetic board that guides me as well.”
Loomis, who is among a handful of new NASW chapter executives directors in recent months, noted that she has always had an interest in social justice, thanks to her parents. “However, the mentors I found after college were the people who inspired me to pursue social work,” she said. “It seemed everywhere I turned, I was surrounded by MSWs who were heading organizations and social change efforts of which I wanted to be a part.”
Her goals for the chapter include: expand membership, especially among students and younger social workers; develop continuing education opportunities, in particular issues related to Alaska Natives and cross-cultures; and continue efforts that lead to a wider range of services for members.
Loomis also volunteers on numerous boards, including as a planning committee member of the State of Alaska Department of Women & Children Teen Pregnancy Summit; a member of Elevate Alaska, Emerging Leaders Forum; and as a volunteer organizer for Anchorage Project Homeless Connect.
Loomis has a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.; an MSW from the University of Alaska, Anchorage; and a certificate in Primary Care Behavioral Health from the University of Massachusetts.
Profiles of other new chapter executive directors will appear in future issues of NASW News.