EIOH Social Worker Lenora Colaruotolo, LMSW, was named 2015 Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers, NY State Chapter, Genesee Valley Division. The award recognizes exceptional leadership qualities, outstanding client and public education efforts, risk taking and upholding NASW’s Code of Ethics.
Since she started working at EIOH 10 years ago, Lenora has provided education, advocacy and case management to low-income pediatric and adult dental patients at EIOH’s clinical arm, Eastman Dental. She also works to implement innovative approaches to care for patients with health challenges that include craniofacial anomalies, chronic pain, infection and life-threatening diseases.
Lenora also promotes oral health within the community, conducts research regarding oral health disparities and serves as a member of Rochester ABC Head Start Health Services Advisory Committee, Strong Memorial Hospital’s Child Protective Committee and Strong Social Work Division Professional Development and Grand Rounds Committee.
“Lenora is outcome-driven and uses data and customer feedback to assure accountability and quality improvement where needed,” said Mardy Sandler, LMSW, URMC’s chief social worker. “She turns challenges in patient care into opportunities for innovation across care settings.”
“Lenora is deeply imbued with a personal and spiritual ethical code that wholly reflects the values of our professional Code of Ethics,” said Cathy Harris, LMSW, who nominated her. “It is Lenora’s deepest passion and her joy to contribute to a healing of our troubled world and provide advocacy for those desperately in need of health resources.”
EIOH Medical Director and Quality Officer David Levy, DMD, agrees. “Her manner with patients is so caring and compassionate that she has successfully revealed information that other clinicians rarely uncover,” he said. “Her skills in this area have helped faculty and residents understand and appreciate patients and their circumstances in a wider social context.”
Cathy added that Lenora embodies the social worker’s ethical values in every aspect of her life, including her roles as teacher, mentor, and as a volunteer within her church and the larger community. “Her decisions are thoughtful and well-considered,” Cathy said. “And, if she doesn't know the answer to a question, she will say so - and then go and find out! She is able to tackle the details of any knotty challenge, while also analyzing and evaluating a situation based on the big picture.”
Lenora began working at the University of Rochester in 1975, building a career as a Human Resources professional throughout the next 25 years. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Science from the University of Rochester in 1979. In 2004, Lenora returned to school to earn a master’s degree in Social Work at the Greater Rochester Collaborative Program and completed fellowship training in adolescent health at the School of Medicine and Dentistry.