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Fran McGrath is 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year

Clients & Collaborations, In the Media / Off / July 2, 2015


Source: WA Social Worker of the Year Awards

Senior Social Worker Fran McGrath has been awarded the title of 2015 WA Social Worker of the Year at the sixth annual statewide awards, recognising social workers from across Western Australia.

Held on Monday night at the University of Western Australia, Ms. McGrath accepted the accolade to a room of heartfelt applause from peers, colleagues, family, friends and distinguished guests.

Ms. McGrath was named the overall winner for the evening, after earlier winning the ‘Head, Heart and Hands’ Award, sponsored by Department for Child Protection and Family Support recognising her lifetime achievements as an outstanding social worker.

Fran said she felt humbled and honoured to be recognised by her peer group, and that she has ‘never tired of social work’.

“I am still learning new things with each client I come across, even after 40 years in the health industry,” says Fran. “The work I do is really about connecting with people, so for me accepting this Award is recognition of the connections I have made with my clients, honouring the roles they have played in my own life, as I in theirs.”

For over 23 years, Ms. McGrath has worked as a Senior Social Worker at the Neurosciences Unit in the Health Department of WA, with strong expertise working with patients with Huntington’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

A colleague, Professor Peter Panegyres, coordinated Ms. McGrath’s nomination praising her capacity to handle a complex caseload at statewide level and still remain focused on her patients

“Fran has a comprehensive knowledge of each individual, their families and what is important to them first and foremost,” said Prof. Panegyres.”

Included within the nomination was a number of quotes from peers and clients of Ms. McGrath.

“There is no cure for Huntington’s Disease… the complex genetic nature has required Fran to work with my family members, including two daughters who are now symptomatic, who have been at various stages of dealing with the disease,” said a client. “The value of Fran’s professional guidance to my family over two decades has been outstanding.”

Attended by a diverse mix of industry professionals, government officials, Award partners, sponsors, family and friends the Awards acknowledged 13 outstanding finalists in five categories and the dedication of the social work industry to making a real difference to the lives of Western Australians.

Patron of the Awards, qualified social worker and former Lotterywest CEO Jan Stewart says she is grateful to be a part of the event that celebrates the tireless efforts of Western Australians in the social work profession.

“It gives me a huge sense of pride in our industry,“ she said. “This event values the depth and breadth of the contribution social workers make not only in direct service to their clients, but also in their workplaces and in the community.”

The Award ceremony has been held annually since 2009 by partners Curtin University, the University of Western Australia and the Australian Association of Social Workers.


Department of Child Protection and Family Support ‘Head, Heart & Hands’ Award

Winner: Fran McGrath, North Metropolitan Health Services (NMHS)
Finalists: Leanne Strommen, Centrecare and Pip White, Tuart Place

Wanslea ‘Agent of Change’ Award

Winner: Pip White, Tuart Place
Finalists: Leanne Strommen, Centrecare and Amanda Allen, Joondalup Health Campus

ECU ‘Rural and Remote Practitioner’ Award

Winner: Kristen Orazi, Department for Child Protection and Family Services (West Kimberley)
Finalists: Nicky Latham, Department of Human Services (Port Hedland) and Debbie Easther, WA Country Health Services (Bunbury)

GESB ‘Rising Star’ Award

Winner: Kat Broad, Princess Margaret Hospital
Finalists: Jill Thompson, South Coastal Womens Health Services and Sonya Crane, Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Services (GRAMS)

Richmond Wellbeing ‘Leading the Way’ Award

Winner: Leanne Mirabella, Palmerston and Department of Health
Finalists: Debbie Henderson, Family Inclusion Network of WA and Simone Hosgood, RUAH

For more information and media releases, please go to the WA Social Worker of the Year Awards Website

To view photos from the Award Ceremony, check out the WA Social Worker of the Year Awards on Facebook.

Media Coverage:

ECU Rural and Remote Award Winner, Kristen Orazi

Source: WA Social Worker of the Year Awards

Kat Broad, GESB Rising Star Award Winner

Source: WA Social Worker of the Year Awards

Source: WA Social Worker of the Year Awards


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