In Our Do'ers Profile, We Highlight Some of the Hardworking and Talented Individuals in Public Human Services. This Issue Features Uma Ahluwalia of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Health and Human Services

By Ahluwalia, Uma | Policy & Practice, August 2008 | Go to article overview

In Our Do'ers Profile, We Highlight Some of the Hardworking and Talented Individuals in Public Human Services. This Issue Features Uma Ahluwalia of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Department of Health and Human Services


Ahluwalia, Uma, Policy & Practice


Name: Uma Ahluwalia

Title: Director, Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County, Maryland

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Years of Service: 18 months in current job; over 18 years of health and human services experience

Rewards of the Job: I went into social work to try to make an impact on the lives of children and families who need help. In my years as a front-line social worker all the way up to a senior manager, the most powerful motivator is the many lives I have touched and the difference my involvement with them has made.

Accomplishments Most Proud Of: Throughout my career, there are many successes I can point to. As a first-generation immigrant with a master's in social work from India, I believe that having achieved significant leadership roles in local and state jurisdictions is something I am proud off. I am particularly proud of my resilience in the face of adversity and my ability to succeed as a professional. I am proud of the Braam lawsuit settlement in Washington state; a settlement for a class-action lawsuit by children in foster care against the state that developed a blueprint for reform of the system. I am proud of the many gains we made in the Washington, D.C., child welfare system, which was deemed by the federal government in the last Child and Family Services Review as the most improved. I am also very proud of the work we are engaged in Montgomery County to build a truly integrated health and human service system that is built on the practice principle of team-based case work with ownership of practice that is shared amongst all the professionals involved and the client and his/her family wherever possible.

Thoughts About the State of the Medicaid Program: There are two trends in Montgomery County that are significant to practice through other jurisdictions as well. One is the significant rise in minority and ethnic populations, both documented and undocumented, and the challenges they present with respect to over-representation of persons of color in public child welfare, juvenile justice, adult corrections, mental health or homeless systems, and the importance of addressing access to care for these populations who present with great need, ultimately with a goal of reducing disparate outcomes for clients receiving services from public systems.

The other is the demographic trend that points to what is now being termed the Senior Tsunami or the significant aging of our population and the unique needs that young seniors and frail seniors present in terms of social, psychological, economic and service needs. …

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