“She has made exemplary and visionary contributions in the field of health care and social work, driven by a life-long passion to help others to live a better life, even in its final chapter. Future generations will be served by her innovations.”

With that introduction, Hope HealthCare Services President and CEO Samira K. Beckwith was presented with the Knee/ Wittman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Health Practice. The award was presented by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation in Washington, DC.

The award was created to recognize those who reach the highest levels in representing the profession’s values and ethics. It is named in honor of Ruth Knee and Milton Wittman, renowned pioneers in social work who guided the development of social work policy and standards.

Beckwith’s career in social work as a “social architect” began unofficially when she was a student at The Ohio State University, where she earned her BA in Sociology and Master’s in Social Work. At that time, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Spending countless hours and days in the hospital, clinics and doctors’ offices with fellow patients, she realized their medical practice at the time was not advanced in regard to pain control, symptom management – and empathy. That was when she made a promise to herself to use her experience to help others live a better life, even during serious illness or in the final chapter. That promise became the foundation of her career. Since then, Beckwith has become a leader in improving and advancing health care on the local, state and national levels. She has served as President and CEO of Hope HealthCare Services since 1991.

“This is absolutely a highlight in my professional life,” Beckwith said. “My career has always been driven by my desire to make a difference and becoming a Professional Social Worker has given me that opportunity. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to make life better for others in our community.”

In conjunction with the event, Beckwith was invited to address the Social Work Policy Institute, a think tank that analyzes health care issues. Based on her own career experience, she gave insight into the essential role of the social worker in hospice care. In working to meet patient and family needs associated with end-of-life care, Beckwith said the social worker’s responsibilities are vast, as they include family education, bereavement care, home safety, assistance with financial planning, and other issues that will ensure the best care for the patient.