Angie Hirsch. the University of Minnesota’s School of Social Work’s 2018 Alumni of the Year, is a product of the system and proud of it.
Hirsch, M.S.W. ‘04, has been the American Indian Mental Health Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Human Services since 2011. The position is critical for the design and delivery of culturally competent mental and chemical health services for tribal and urban American Indians, SSW Director John Bricout said.
As a child Hirsch was in foster care and then adopted, so she came into contact with many social workers “who were a part the huge support system I have had around me since I was little.”
Now, she said, “I am proud to be a part of that system.”
In her job at the Department of Human Services, she works closely with the American Indian Mental Health Advisory Council to develop legislative and policy recommendations, implement evidence-based care that integrates culture and primary care services, and plan the annual Minnesota American Indian Mental Health conference.
She is also chair of the Minnesota Board of Social Work, and served on the Association for Social Work Boards from 2013-2016, helping to write questions for the clinical social work licensure exams used across North America.
Bricout described Hirsch as a rare individual who brings both a micro and a macro social work perspective to her work. That perspective enriches the field in both arenas, he said, and allows her to see the big picture. He noted that she is also a valued community faculty member of the school and has served as a field instructor for interning M.S.W. students.
She also holds bachelor of arts degrees in sociology and peace studies from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota.