For National Social Work Month: Three Questions with President Hilary Jacobs

We started our “3 Questions” profile of social workers with our agency president, Hilary Jacobs, LICSW, LADCI.

Appointed as president in fall 2017, Hilary has previously served as the Vice President of Addiction Treatment and Youth Residential Services here at Lahey Health Behavioral Services.  Hilary holds a Master of Social Work from Boston Unviersity Graduate School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Bates College.

1. Hilary, was social work your first career choice and what attracted you to the field?

When thinking about graduate school, I considered both law and social work and ultimately landed with social work.  I was working in the behavioral health field in an entry level position and really liked the way of thinking that the social workers I knew shared. They had a real sense of the big picture. I think for me the commonality and attraction to both law and social work was the ability to work for social justice.
 
2.  Name one thing that you wish more people understood about the professional role of social worker?

I would like people to understand the breadth of positions that a social work education can prepare a person for, ranging from direct clinical work with individuals and families to health policy roles and everything in between.  
 
3. Hilary, it’s been almost six months since you were appointed president of LHBS. How does your social work career and education help you to lead a behavioral health agency that’s part of a larger health system?

I keep coming back to the way that a social work education teaches people to think critically, to consider all aspects of a problem–whether it’s related to an individual or a social issue–and approach solutions from a strength-based perspective with an eye towards social justice.  It’s this  foundation, coupled with many years of experience in the field in a variety of social work roles and seeking out continual learning opportunities, that prepared me to lead this agency.

Next week: Look for words of wisdom from some of our other social workers here at Lahey Health Behavioral Services.