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National Professional Social Worker Month: Robin Rossell

Did you know? Medical care accounts for only 10% of an individual’s overall health, while behavioral health—factors like social integration, support systems, discrimination, and stress— determines 30% of overall well-being. That 30% is where Robin Rossell, People’s Director of Behavioral Health and Social Services, has focused her 23 years at the clinic. “Being open to change and improvement” is key to medical social work, Robin said. “The field is always evolving, and the pendulum always swings back and forth between different schools of thought.”

With her holistic approach, Robin has initiated several effective programs that have helped improve patients’ lives. The first was TANDEM, the teen prenatal parenting program that is currently in its 22nd year. It provides intensive case management to support teen mothers’ social, medical, and mental health needs. Since 1998, TANDEM has served one thousand mothers, and helped reduce their chances of having a second teen birth to less than 3%, compared to the state average of 20%. Robin led the creation of our Integrative Behavioral Health Department, which provides patients with convenient in-clinic mental health services. Finally, Robin also helped launch our Pain Management Program to reduce opioid use and treat patients with complex chronic pain.

The mind-body connection is undeniable, Robin says. For instance, we know that depression and diabetes are closely linked and that stress plays a role in physical pain. When we see the whole patient—not just their symptoms—we can help them get healthy and stay healthy for life. Thank you, Robin, for your leadership and for growing a vibrant IBH department!

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