Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

MSW Alum, Rosanelly Garcia Awarded Social Worker of the Year

Social workers are essential to community well-being. As practitioners, social workers are trained to help people address personal and systemic barriers to optimal living. They are employed to effect positive change with individuals, families, groups, and entire communities. In continuation of this year’s National Professional Social Work Month theme, “Social Workers Are Essential,” the National Association of Social Workers, Illinois Chapter (NASW-IL) is honoring the work of some exceptional Illinois social workers and individuals of every generation, whose work promotes social justice and social change with and on behalf of the people and clients they serve.

One such exemplary Illinois social worker being honored this year is 2021 NASW-Illinois Chapter Statewide Social Worker of the Year awardee Rosanelly Garcia. Rosanelly Garcia ('14), a Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work alum, works on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic as an emergency room/trauma social worker at Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH). There she brings an innovative and caring approach to the patients she cares for. She has worked with adults released from prison, children detained by immigration, survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as homeless youth. Rosanelly has served as adjunct professor at St. Augustine College and as Chicago District Chair on the NASW-Illinois Chapter Board of Directors.

As a social worker, Rosanelly has had direct impact in the lives of the community she serves surrounding MSH, a Level 1 Trauma Center hospital in Chicago. Colleagues tell stories about her going above and beyond the call of duty. While at MSH, Nelly has reinvigorated the hospital’s domestic violence program as well as provided wraparound services for their sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking patients. She has located and found family members for patients that have gone missing as well as repatriate and reunite patients with their families all over the world. Nelly has also been a source of strength for patients and their families as she is working daily on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In support of his nomination for Rosanelly, colleague Jaime Moreno, MD, wrote: “Nelly continues to show up for work every day and every day she walks in with the expectation that she will change someone’s life. If a surgeon or proceduralist is hailed on his/her dexterity and skills, Nelly should be applauded for her enduring compassion and spirited approach to her profession and her patients.”


Press release provided by the National Association of Social Workers, for more please click here.