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2014 Social Work Award Recipients

Janice Firn is the 2014 recipient of the 12th Annual Beverly Jean Howard for for Excellence in Social Work!

Janice Firn is a Social Worker in the Adult Palliative Care Consult Service. Janice consistently provides excellent care to patients and families experiencing chronic and life-threatening illness. She demonstrates empathy and humility as she guides patients, families through difficult admission, palliation and end of life care, including bereavement support and grief counseling. She effectively facilitates difficult family meetings and complex psychosocial situations, bringing people together in a time of crisis and advocating for the best practices balances with the patient’s wishes.

Janice has the innate ability to collaborate with many, and sometimes conflicting disciplines/roles. She exudes empathy, calm and humility yet maintains confidence and professionalism. Janice also has the ability to see the big picture of patient care, identify goals easily, and establish rapport even with “difficult” patients’ and families.

A strong advocate for Palliative Care, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in Palliative Care via the University of Lancaster, England to help bolster her ability to continue this important work. Additionally, she is the PI or Co-PI to several research activities and has received an active grant through MICHR-PORT program. She serves on several committees making significant contributions in the area of ethics, palliative care, acuity, lean thinking, clinical skills and supervision. . Janice is an active Field Instructor, facilitator of UMHS Schwartz Rounds, is part of the Critical Care Quality Improvement Project, to name just a few. She generously gives her time and expertise to the community providing education, mentoring and supervision. She has presented at several national conferences.

Janice tirelessly advocates for best practices in Social Work, palliative care, and ethics. She has demonstrated innovation through her research projects and presentation on difficult and sometimes poorly understood topics related to patient care. She is a leader and strong advocate of Social Justice.

Nominated by: Aryana Robbins, LMSW

Congratulations, Janice!

A total of 15 nominations were received and included:



Susan Cnockaert is the 2014 recipient of the 2nd annual Outstanding BSW Award in Social Work!

Susan has been a fantastic addition to the Congenital Heart Center. She makes the process of arranging lodging and other tangible social work needs seamless for patients and their families. Her prompt responses to referrals and ability to follow up are outstanding. Susan’s willingness to assist in any way she can makes her a valuable member of the team.

Susan’s compassion for our patients and attention to detail, has led us to have a much greater understanding of the role of Social Work and its ability to influence patient care. She is always willing to tackle problems and see them through to resolution, taking ownership and placing patient care first.

Susan’s positive energy and infectious smile are a boon to our patients and staff. She radiates confidence and calm, appears unflappable and pleasant in the face of dealing with stressed out patients and families.

Nominated by: Dennis Crowley, MD – Pediatrics/Pediatric Cardiology

Congratulations Susan!

A total of 6 nominations were received and included: