Community Health Center Executive Director Named Social Worker of the Year

Ricardo Guzman, Chief Executive Officer, Community Health & Social Services Center

Ricardo Guzman, Chief Executive Officer, Community Health & Social Services Center

Community Health and Social Services (CHASS), a nonprofit Community Health Center that provides health and wellness services to underinsured and uninsured people in Detroit, announced today that Chief Executive Officer J. Ricardo Guzman has been named “Social Worker of the Year 2010” by the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).  Guzman will accept the award on April 9 at the chapter’s annual conference at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency.

The “Social Worker of the Year” award honors a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) who exemplifies the best of the profession’s values and achievements through specific accomplishments.

“I am thrilled that Mr. Guzman was chosen for this award.  He is both personally and professionally aware of the barriers facing people in their struggle to obtain adequate health care,” said NASW-Michigan Executive Director Maxine Theme, PhD, ALMS, MPH.  “Under Mr. Guzman’s direction CHASS has become a clinic that goes beyond the walls of the clinic.”

“In addition, Mr. Guzman understands the criticalness of both outreach and inreach to assure that those who are underserved or uninsured have access to excellent health care opportunities.  He is a true social worker and a perfect choice for social worker of the year — he truly represents courage and character in his work with CHASS and with the surrounding community,” she said.

“For my work to be recognized by my peers as exemplary is a great honor,” Guzman said.  “I am humbled by this award.”

Mr. Guzman has more than 37 years experience working with health and human service programs targeting Detroit’s Hispanic community.   Since 1983 he has been chief executive officer at CHASS, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) organization with two Detroit locations.  In 2009, CHASS provided services to 13,801 consumers.  The organization has been heralded as a national model for the delivery of health care to urban populations.  

Mr. Guzman serves as a leading advocate for community participation in the planning and implementation of health programs relevant to minority communities.  During his tenure, he has been successful in obtaining federal, state, and local government support, as well as foundation grant funding, to plan and implement several major community-level interventions addressing diabetes, intimate partner violence and school-based health services.  Mr. Guzman is currently directing the capital campaign for the construction of a new $17 million, 48,000-square-foot Health Center and administrative facility for CHASS.

The National Association of Social Workers is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world.  It works to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, to create and maintain professional standards, and to advance sound social policies.

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