Melissa Mandrell named New Hampshire Social Worker of the Year

DURHAM, N.H. – The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire congratulates Melissa Mandrell, MSS, MLSP on her selection as the Social Worker of the Year by the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She received the award at the Social Work Celebration on March 24, 2017.

“Melissa works tirelessly to change the policy and structures in New Hampshire to ensure the equity, dignity, and worth of everyone, particularly people with disabilities and older adults,” shares Linda Bimbo, Acting Director of the Institute on Disability.

Melissa joined the IOD in 2005 and works on projects which support access to person-centered long-term care options for individuals with disabilities and those who age into disabilities. Melissa has worked on multiple Aging and Disability Resource Center Grants with the NH Department of Health and Human Services to support the ServiceLink Resource Centers (SLRC) statewide, often citing the need for continuing peer support for ServiceLink staff. Melissa recognized that these front line workers were experiencing burnout and advocated for a peer support system to be put into place. This work was recently recognized in a National AARP report.

Honorees at Social Work Celebration on March 24, 2017 with NH Governor Chris SununuPreviously, Melissa worked on projects that involved assessing consumer satisfaction with community mental health services, developing core competency standards for individuals who work with children with emotional and behavioral challenges, supporting family and informal caregivers, and integrating affordable housing with long term supports. Prior to joining IOD, Melissa worked for the State of New Hampshire at the Bureau of Behavioral Health and at New Hampshire Hospital. Previous employment included University of Iowa Mental Health Clinical Research Center and United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The Institute on Disability was established in 1987 to provide a university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to promote full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,300 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.