Linda DeBaer, LMSW of Cordova, Tennessee has been awarded the National Association of Perinatal Social Work Award for Excellence for 2014. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of perinatal social work and is presented to one recipient each year at our national conference. The award was presented at the opening banquet of the 38th Annual Conference on May 7, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.

Linda was nominated by two NAPSW members, Calene Dugard, from California and Debby Segi-Kovach from Florida. Calene wrote, “ Linda has been a longstanding active member of NAPSW for over 20 years. She is widely respected by the membership at large.” Debby had mentioned that Linda is an excellent clinician, supervisor, field instructor for MSW interns and a leader. She further wrote that Linda is a very dedicated member of NAPSW and has been a valuable part of the organization. She further stated, “ With her friendly southern personality, Linda is always willing to reach out and welcome new members to NAPSW. I have worked with Linda on many NAPSW projects. She is one of those behind the scene members that keep this organization going year after year.”

2014awardLinda DeBaer has been a member of NAPSW for over 29 years. She currently serves as the Chair of the Standards Committee and has led the development of all nine NAPSW Standards of Practice. She has also served on the Board of Directors from 1997-2001, 2004-2006, 2006-2009 terms. She was also on the NAPSW Conference Planning Committee for the 1996 Memphis and 2007 Asheville conferences. She has also presented at previous NAPSW Conferences.

Some of Linda’s community service and committee work include the following interests. She has been a Field Instructor for the Social Work Graduate programs at the University of Memphis. She has developed a skype protocol for the Regional Medical Center NICU. Linda has presented as several national and local conferences, including various March of Dimes presentations in Tennessee. She has been actively involved in several state and regional grant review committees with the March of Dimes. Linda has written numerous grants to improve services to mothers and babies at the Newborn Center for the city of Memphis and state of Tennessee.

Linda received her Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work degrees at West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia. She later obtained her State of Tennessee certification and is a licensed Master Social Worker in Tennessee.

Linda is currently employed at the University of Tennessee, Newborn Center at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee as the Manager of the Perinatal Social Work Department. She has been the Manager of their department since March 2008.
Prior to her promotion to a Manager position, Linda had extensive work experience in the social work profession by working at other agencies and places. She has worked as a vocational rehab counselor, as a coordinator for specialized treatment for foster families, with the Easter Seals Foundation, and as the Assistant Manager of the Perinatal Social Work Department at the University of Tennessee, Newborn Center-Regional Medical Center in Memphis for 24 years from 1984-2008. In addition she continues to work as a sales associate for Dillards Department Store since 1996.

Many congratulations letters were received from Linda’s colleagues, coworkers and several family members. Linda’s daughter, Jennifer Hutchinson was also present on the evening of the award presentation and spoke on behalf of her family. She stated, “ Mom, You are the hardest working woman I know. I admire your tireless and ever-positive attitude. You’re the lady who has helped shape my life. I’m proud that you are being recognized by your peers as I have seen you all my life.”

Congratulations letters were also received from Dr. Ajay J. Talah, Program Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Tennessee. He wrote, “ Linda is an excellent and dedicated social worker…”. “She is a true patient advocate. Her work has allowed several thousand families over years to understand the complexities of NICU care and helped the caregivers in the NICU understand the economic, social and environmental well being of their patients and families.”

Dr. Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy, the Division of Neonatology, Professor of Pediatrics and OB-GYN at the University of Tennessee, Regional Medical Center wrote, “ I am very fortunate to have Linda leading our perinatal social work department. I am proud of her accomplishments and thank NAPSW for the well-deserved recognition your organization is bestowing on her.”

Another colleague, Kelly Smith, R.N., Nurse Manager of the Newborn Center wrote, “…without the dedication and finesse of our perinatal social workers, our roles in the NICU would be all the more challenging. I have personally witnessed your unfailing support, abundant encouragement and above all your innate compassion to our families and staff. Thank You is not enough!”

Valencia Nelson, State Director of Program Services of the Tennessee Chapter March of Dimes wrote, “ Linda has an impressive history of service and leadership in addressing some of the most challenging health and social issues in the city. I have witnessed her sound sense of helping to develop pragmatic approaches to tough issues that contribute to poor birth outcomes in the Memphis community…”. Linda has helped lead the awarding of more than $1.9 million in grants across the state of Tennessee to address the leading contributors of prematurity. The Tennessee Chapter salutes Linda DeBaer and applauds her on this much deserved achievement.”

NAPSW congratulates and salutes Linda on all her accomplishments and on receiving this prestigious award!!