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Friday, October 1

NASW Illinois Statewide Awards 2010

This year’s NASW Illinois 2010 Statewide Award-Winners were selected from a large pool of nominated District Awards which were chosen earlier this year in March. This year’s award-winners deserve recognition of their achievements as individuals who are making a difference in the social work field today.

Thanks again also to this year’s 2010 NASW Illinois Chapter Awards Committee—chair Chasity Wells-Armstrong, Alexander Brown, and Joan Ente—who helped to make the very difficult decision of who to honor as this year’s Social Worker of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, and Public Citizen of the Year winners. The following are this year’s 2010 NASW Illinois Statewide Award winners:

Social Worker of the Year: Ruth Lipschutz, LCSW, ACSW
Ruth Lipschutz earned her BSW and MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle Campus. After graduation, she pursued work in community mental health, nonprofit agencies such as United Charities and settlement housing, and worked in schools. She has served as a liaison and mediator in the gay/lesbian/transgender communities giving talks, workshops, and training sessions to educate others in the issues and differences of these populations. Ruth maintains a full-time private practice working with individuals, couples, and groups in a variety of settings.

Ruth has been involved in doing service work and volunteering on communities for NASW. Most recently, she has been engaged in the work of the ethics committee. She has helped develop and keep relevant the NASW Code of Ethics, has served as a consultant and panelist presenting information regarding the Code of Ethics, and teaches classes and leads training sessions on ethics. She has served on the NASW Illinois Chapter Ethics Committee (CEC) and is currently chairman of the NASW Ethics Committee.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank H. Ware, ACSW
Frank Ware is the current president and CEO of Janet Wattles Center in Rockford, IL, one of the largest mental health centers in Illinois. In his position at the Janet Wattles Center, he has championed treatment for people with mental illness. He not only motivates a staff of over 200, but he also has been instrumental in leading the community to understand and recognize mental illness. He worked on the Illinois Department of Mental Health Strategic Restructuring Initiative to ensure that necessary programs and services would not be jeopardized. He is on the cutting edge of evidence-based practices by being a part of the statewide implementation team for evidence-based practice for supported employment along with researchers from Dartmouth University. He collaborated with the criminal justice system by teaming up with the chief judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit in Winnebago County and developed an extremely successful mental health court. He partnered with law enforcement and was able to convince the sheriff and chief of police that crisis intervention training for each officer was essential.

Frank has strong bonds with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and has been recognized on a state level for his involvement with consumers and families. He developed a family resource center for families so that any family living in the area could walk in and get information about mental illness. He saw to it that this resource center is staffed by families with children who have mental illness. He employs consumers as often as possible in clinical positions as well as having a consumer on the board of directors for the entire center. Janet Wattles Center is currently in the building stage of a recovery resource center which will be run completely by consumers. It will provide a safe place for consumers to gain access to peer support and resources to better improve their journey towards recovery.

Public Citizen of the Year: Daniel A. Ivankovich, MD
The 46-year-old son of Yugoslavian immigrants and father of four is a rare breed among private-practice surgeons. Dr. Daniel Ivankovich is a truly one-of-a-kind maverick, opinionated, colorful, and is always enthusiastic about tackling the most complicated surgical cases to care for his patients.

Immediately following the earthquake devastation in Haiti, Dr. Dan extended his services by traveling to Port-au-Prince to deliver over 2,000 pounds of medical supplies and help the local physicians to treat bone fractures and offer critical care medicine to its citizens. With the assistance of Dr. Colleen O’Connell from Handicap International, Dr. Dan identified two severely injured spinal cord patients who needed emergency medical care to survive. Amid the chaos and overwhelming insurmountable obstacles, Dr. Ivankovich was successful in securing humanitarian waivers for both patients and a medical transport jet to transfer them to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for treatment. Having worked in the underserved communities on Chicago’s South and West sides, Dr. Dan has seen his fair share of miracles over the years, and this mission to Haiti was one of them.

Posted on 10/01/10 at 07:56 AM


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