Approved ~~ MJM
This year, trans advocate and military veteran Zander Keig made history when the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) awarded him the honor of Social Worker of the Year.
“Zander Keig’s large body of work personifies the spirit and mission of the social work profession, the love of service to others, and the heart for social justice,” said NASW’s CEO, Angelo McClain, Ph.D., LICSW, when the announcement was made. “He is a compassionate man who is also a strong advocate, especially for groups of people our society ignores, misunderstands or stigmatizes.”
Each year, the NASW Social Worker of the Year Award highlights an individual who has been able to achieve great accomplishments through their daily dedication in the field of social work.
For 2020, Keig (a MSW, LCSW, and U.S. Coast Guard veteran) is being recognized for his work around veterans, transgender military members, and those experiencing homelessness.
“I am inspired and motivated to be a social worker because having a direct impact on an individual’s mental and emotional wellbeing and having an influence on policy change is very rewarding,” Keig tells The Advocate.
During his time as a clinical social work case manager (2016-2019) for the Navy Medicine West Transgender Care Team at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Keig developed an inclusive and nondiscriminatory patient intake process for the nearly 230 service members going through gender transition at the time. He also designed a trans-inclusive orientation process during his tenure there.