AARP Eye Center
The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has recognized Arizona AARP State Director Dana Marie Kennedy with its Arizona 2015 Social Worker of the Year Award.
The NASW honored Dana for her work last year assisting veterans while with Arizona Congresswoman, Kyrsten Sinema’s office.
After the VA Medical Center story broke that 40 veterans had died while waiting to receive care, Dana was instrumental in pulling together a working group of nonprofit behavior health agencies, the Veterans Administration and health care agencies that focused on making improvements to the system. Out of this effort came the formation of a mental health coalition aimed at reducing the number of veteran suicides.
Through Dana's leadership, Phoenix worked to reduce the number of veteran suicides through crisis prevention work, increased access to care, identifying gaps in coverage, and bringing attention to what was working in the system.
In addition, her work with the coalition called attention to a military navigator program called Empact that resulted in additional funding that helped serve twice as many veterans in crisis.