In honor of Social Work Month, we are recognizing 2019-2020 GSWEC Alumni, Shad Cruz, Partners in Care Foundation’s Clinical Director of LTSS.
Shad attended USC where he earned his Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Science of Gerontology (MSG) degrees. He also has an Associate Clinical Social Worker (ASW) certification and is currently working on obtaining his License as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW).
In 2018, Shad entered graduate school with the intention of working with the older adult LGBTQ population. He was invited to the Social Work Hall of Distinction Awards where Partners’ CEO and President, June Simmons, was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. He was moved by her story, her charisma and Partners’ work with the community, and was determined to work alongside June to pursue her vision in healthcare. During his second year in graduate school, he had the opportunity to do so when he was placed with Partners in Care Foundation under the Geriatric Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC) internship program. As an intern, he administered health risk assessments to older adults with multiple chronic health conditions, provided mental health consultation to community health workers on high-acuity cases, and more!
Because of Shad’s great work ethic and passion for improving care for older adults, he shined as an intern. He received a job offer even before graduating, and in 2020, he officially joined Partners as a Clinical Manager. Now as a Clinical Director, he currently offers clinical support to the long-term services that the agency offers through several Medi-Cal funded programs. Shad also helps staff members understand the challenges program participants face and how to best support them to ensure high quality care.
Shad’s passion for social work stems from his desire to make a positive impact in people’s lives through mentoring, training, and educating staff who serve the underserved and chronically ill populations in the most effective way possible. He calls it “helping the helper.”
He reflects, “I know I’m doing my job when the people I work with feel confident and competent to serve those in their care.”
Outside of his work with Partners, he is also a Board Member of the Pasadena Village, a member-based, peer-to-peer social organization that supports older adults in Pasadena. He is a member of the California Society for Clinical Social Work (CSCSW) and sits on the steering committee for the greater Los Angeles Area. He is also an advocate for the LGBTQ community and served on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Band of Brothers, a non-profit Gay men’s social organization, for several years.
Shad is a shining example of the career opportunities GSWEC students are offered following graduation, and the experience gained in geriatric social work through placement with a field agency like Partners in Care Foundation.