Spotlight (May 2012)

Bernice HarperNASW Social Work Pioneer® Bernice Harper was honored with the Global Vision Award at the 2012 National Hospice Foundation Gala in March, which was part of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s 27th Management and Leadership Conference. Harper joined other women at the event who were honored in a special gala tribute, “Celebrating the Women of Hospice: A Salute to Heroines and Humanitarians.”

The Global Vision Award celebrates the power of philanthropic efforts to harness innovation, raise the potential of human endeavors and leverage resources to improve caring that has a far-reaching impact and creates a lasting change in communities. Harper was instrumental in forming the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has resulted in lasting change in the region. Prior to this effort, Harper was the first chair of the National Task Force to Improve Access to Hospice Care by Minorities.

Alice KitchenNASW member Alice Kitchen was among the 10 people honored by the White House on March 21 as Champions of Change. Kitchen joined the honorees in recognition of helping others in their community to understand the impact and opportunities from the Affordable Care Act.

Kitchen is the volunteer co-chair of the Affordable Care Public Education Committee for the Metropolitan Kansas City area. She helped coordinate more than 35 presentations on the ACA, reaching from 10 to 90 individuals in each setting, according to the White House. These ACA education sessions were targeted to seniors, women’s groups, churches, trade groups and small businesses, as well as health professionals.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, “The president’s health law gives hard-working, middle-class families the security they deserve. The Affordable Care Act forces insurance companies to play by the rules, prohibiting them from dropping your coverage if you get sick, billing you into bankruptcy through annual or lifetime limits, and, soon, discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.”

The Champions of Change program was created as part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. A different sector is highlighted each week, and groups of champions — ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders — are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

Barbara MilkulskiSocial worker and U.S. Sen. Barbara Milkulski, D-Md., was honored in March as the longest-serving woman in Congress with 10 years of service in the House followed by 25 years in the Senate.

According to a Washington Post column by Annie Groer, “Mikulski’s milestone was saluted on March 17 with a standing ovation and long series of speeches on the Senate floor in an increasingly rare bipartisan tribute.”

Groer noted that Mikulski thanked her Polish American family and the nuns who educated her for inspiring her to pursue a career in public service. “Her father, Willy Mikulski, ran a grocery store in Baltimore’s working-class Highlandtown neighborhood, and young Barbara delivered food to homebound elderly,” the columnist stated.

Milkulski pursued a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland and became a community activist and Baltimore City Council member before winning her first House race in 1976.

On her website biography, Milkulski notes that her experiences as a social worker and activist provided valuable lessons that she continues to draw on as a U.S. senator.

“She believes her constituents have a right to know, a right to be heard and a right to be represented. She listens to her constituents and makes the personal, political,” it says in her biography.