St. Paul’s social worker recognized for inspiring others
Submitted by Christine Lyon, Communications Specialist, Communications and Public Affairs
Many social workers will tell you the profession is a calling, one that requires a strong commitment to caring and social justice.
That certainly rings true for Jaclyn Sauer. “For me, social work is a profession that can contribute to social change and work to address systemic inequalities,” she says. “I went into social work in order to be an advocate.”
Jaclyn is an Addictions Social Worker with the Addiction Medicine Consult Team at Providence Health Care. Her role is specifically dedicated to the Mental Health Program, which means she works on mental health units at St. Paul’s with people who have both substance use and mental health concerns. She also provides consultation and education on substance use to staff.
Jaclyn is being lauded for her hard work as the recipient of the 2019 Inspiring Social Worker of the Year Award. This award recognizes social workers in BC whose professional and personal efforts and dedication to serving people from marginalized communities have inspired others to care and contribute to the promotion of social justice.
“I feel very humbled and completely blown away,” Jaclyn says. “I work alongside so many exceptional social workers – there are many other social workers at PHC who also deserve this recognition. It’s an incredible honour.”
As this year’s winner, she will share her insights and experiences at the Paul Cheng Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at UBC. There, she’ll talk to undergrad and graduate social work students about starting her career in the midst of an escalating opioid overdose crisis, the importance of taking action to create change, and what has helped sustain her in this challenging work.
Although she’s being celebrated as a role model who inspires others, Jaclyn says she continues to be inspired daily by her patients, who fight to make change in their lives despite incredible obstacles, and by her colleagues, who are working to effect change at the individual and systemic levels.
“It’s exciting to be a part of a broad community of staff, peers and clinicians embracing PHC’s social justice mandate,” she says.
Jaclyn is also heartened to see drug user activist groups fight for broader systemic change in order to save lives and prevent further harm. “These movements push the health care system to do better,” she says.
The Inspiring Social Worker of the Year Award is co-sponsored and organized by the British Columbia Association of Social Workers and UBC’s School of Social Work. It was established in memory of Paul Cheng, a social worker who immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong and served new immigrants, youth in care, street youth, people with addiction, and many others in Hong Kong and Canada for over 40 years.
Jaclyn’s lecture will be video recorded and uploaded to the School of Social Work website and linked to the BCASW website.
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