2019 Award For Excellence Recipient, Joan Hebert

Joan Hebert receives the 2019 NAPSW Award for Excellence

Joan Hebert, LCSW, of Orlando, Florida, has been awarded the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers’ Award for Excellence for 2019. Joan is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Florida. The 2019 Award was presented at the 43rd annual conference during the opening banquet on May 1 in Savannah, Georgia. Members Rasa Ragas and Joni Hardcastle nominated Joan and expressed their appreciation and admiration.

Rasa said: Joan has devoted a good part of her professional career working as a perinatal social worker despite several changes and reorganization at her medical center. Plus, she enjoys ‘having fun’ as I observed her to be a great dancer! I remember dancing with her at the 2012 conference in Little Rock in the Peabody Lounge along with other conference participants. She has a great sense of humor! Joan has been an active member of NAPSW, serving as Secretary, two terms on the Board, and serving on other committees, too!

Joni said: Joan Hèbert is a long-time committed member of NAPSW — a member who inspires me to be my best professional self while showing grace, patience and strength during change. She is a strong teacher, supervisor and mentor to new perinatal employees. Joan has an even, easy-going style that helps others trust her and feel at ease. When I was nominating chair, we needed someone to run for Secretary. I contacted Joan and without any hesitation, she agreed to run.

Joan Hèbert has been a member of NAPSW since 1987. She has served served on the Board of Directors (2009–2011 and 2013–2016) and as Secretary (2012–2013). Joan has been on two conference-planning committees (Florida, 2003 and Savannah, 2019) and currently serves on the bylaws committee. Joan received a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque in 1977, and a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1980, with a concentration in children and families. She began her social work career working in the NICU/ Orthopedic unit at Hurley Medical Center, Flint, Michigan (1981–1990). In 1990, Joan relocated to Florida and began working at Winner Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, Arnold Palmer Medical Center, Orlando, as a Neonatal Supervisor. During this time, Joan began the NICU Advisory Council, Ethics Rounds in the NICU, and co-facilitated Neonatal Maternal Fetal Medicine Rounds, which include birth plans for couples whose babies had lethal diagnoses. She has served on the ethics committee at her facility. Joan is a member of NASW and ACSW. In 2010, she received the Healthcare Social Worker of the Year Award from the Florida chapter of the Society of Social Work Leadership in Healthcare. Overall, she has provided clinical supervision to seven clini- cians and two technicians. In 2014, Joan became a Care Coordinator for the NICU. Joan has presented at numerous workshops for her institution as well as at state and national conferences. Joan is an ELNEC (End of Life Nursing Consortium) and a “Resolve Through Sharing” counselor. Many colleagues and co-workers praised Joan and recounted personal experiences in congratulatory letters.

Dr. Jose Perez, NICU Medical Director of Winnie Palmer, wrote: Congratulations, Joan, on receiving the NAPSW Award of Excellence! As you know this award is only given to an amazing individual, displaying the selfless attributes of grace, patience, and strength amid emotional stress and conflict. Joan you have maintained these personal attributes in our NICU for the last three decades. You have helped thousands of our families cope with illness of their babies. You have been a role model, teacher, and supervisor for all our perinatal social workers. We have been blessed to work alongside you. Thank you for your dedication and commitment

 Dr. Douglas E Hardy wrote: I am thrilled to see Joan being named the National Perinatal Social Worker of the Year as she is so deserving of the honor! I have known Joan since she came to the NICU in 1990. She has been an asset, colleague, and friend. Her compassion, knowledge, leadership and sense of humor have served us very well over the years. She inspires us to the best we can be for our patients and families. We’re all so very proud of Joan.

Ann L Diaz, RN, Nursing Operations Manager NICU, wrote: I have worked side by side with Joan since 1990. She has always been a fierce advocate for the patients and families we serve, sharing heartfelt compassion and exceptional expertise in her field as well as the specialty of neonatology. Joan is also a forever friend, walking difficult journeys with me, crying, laughing, sharing tissues, and chocolates.

Mary Norris, LCSW, former boss and colleague, said: I have had the privilege and honor of working with Joan Alice Hébert, LCSW, since 1990. Joan has been an integral part of Arnold Palmer Medical Center, Winner Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. She has contributed greatly to the psychosocial needs of the NICU families. Joan exemplifies what is good about our social work profession. She embraces our social work values. Her professionalism, her passion for the field of social work and her knowledge and expertise are very visible in all her interactions with families and the health care team. Another one of Joan’s gifts is her ability to present. She has given lectures at both the local, state, and at the national level. I have had the pleasure of meeting her “alter personalities” — Hannah from Detroit and Hannah Vanna. She is fair, honest, compassionate, and has a wicked sense of humor! I am so pleased that Joan is the recipient of this award! Congratulations, my friend and colleague!!

Linda Lowman, M. Ed, NICU Developmental Specialist, wrote: I am so honored to have the opportunity to write this letter for Joan! I have worked with Joan for over thirty years. Joan is a stellar clinical social worker and so deserving of this honor! She is involved in most process changes that impact the NICU and is a critical member of the entire healthcare core team. I collaborated with her to start the Neonatal Ethics Rounds to address ethical challenges. We also started the Neonatal Maternal Fetal Medicine Rounds. She has remarkable leadership skills and opens communication so gracefully and magically. Many years ago, we collaborated to present a skit at a community-wide Bioethics Symposium at our local university. Among her many talents, she is a most wonderful actress, always a pleasure to watch. One a personal note, she was the social worker that helped us when my precious daughter was born at 24 weeks, twenty-three years ago. Joan was always very calm and supportive in the toughest times, I can never thank Joan enough of her support during that time of crisis.

These letters of tribute to Joan portray her amazing devotion to “every baby, every family, supported with competent and compassionate care” and her contributions and commitment to the profession of perinatal social work that this award was created to honor. The Award for Excellence recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of perinatal social work, including clinical work, education and research, and service to the organization. It is the highest honor NAPSW bestows on members and an important way we recognize the accomplishments of our colleagues. NAPSW congratulates and salutes Joan on all her accomplishments and on receiving this prestigious award. Press releases will be sent to Joan’s hospital, Florida NASW, and other media she has selected. Joan resides in Orlando where she is a Faculty Fellow for Florida State. Joan is engaged to be married to Jordan Cook in October 2019. More reason to congratulate Joan!