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This social worker's pursuit of a master's degree is driven by a passion for helping people

This social worker's pursuit of a master's degree is driven by a passion for helping people

Working as a social worker at Olmsted Medical Center, Abe Segovia has seen first-hand how his training and education can be used to help remove barriers for patients in need of care.

Abe, an Army veteran who served an 11-month tour in Afghanistan in 2010, has been with OMC for the past few years — first as an intern before transitioning into a full-time role after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Winona State University-Rochester (WSU-R).

He says having social workers on staff is crucial to ensuring patients receive the best possible care. For instance, a patient cannot be properly treated if they do not have access to reliable transportation or cannot afford the costs of their medications. When those barriers exist, Abe is able to step in and help patients find solutions. Oftentimes, he will also join them during their appointments to serve as their advocate.

“Social workers are able to assess situations through a unique lens,” explains Abe.  “We are able to use a holistic approach to ensure patient’s immediate needs, as well as their long term needs, are met.”

Having found a strong purpose in the work he does, Abe is now looking to build upon the knowledge and tools he’s acquired through years of studying and working with patients. Later this year, Abe will be rejoining his alma mater to pursue an advanced degree as part of WSU’s new Master of Social Work Program.

The program, which launches in the fall of 2019, aims to address the regional demand for licensed clinical social workers. In developing the curriculum, WSU has brought on a number of local partners, including Rochester Public Schools and Olmsted County’s Child and Family division, to develop an innovative approach that will prepare students to be culturally-aware and trauma-informed social work practictioners.

For students like Abe, that means being able to better assistant patients regardless of where they are at.

“I can confidently say I am an expert in resource and referral but I want to better understand patient’s traumas, emotional and behavioral patterns,” explains Abe. “I want to figuratively walk patients through their journey in addressing and understanding their mental health.”

Abe, a married father of one, says he chose to go back to WSU-Rochester because of the experience he had the first time around. He says the university not only provided an excellent education, but he also felt the school’s mission aligned well with his own values.

“WSU-R has taken the time to listen and understand their community members to ensure programs like the MSW program will fulfill their needs,” says Abe. “I am truly excited to be part of something that will forever change the community I reside in, but more importantly myself and Olmsted Medical Center.”

Applications for the MSW program will be accepted beginning in spring 2019, with the program starting in fall of 2019 for those holding a Bachelor of Social Work degree. The program will expand in fall of 2020 for those without a Bachelor of Social Work degree.

For more information, visit this link.

Cover photo by William Forsman

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