According to the National Association for Social Workers, there are nearly 720,000 social workers in our nation. That number is expected to grow by 12 percent by the end of the decade, making social work one of the fastest growing professions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Social workers have been an integral part of our nation for decades. They played key roles in the Civil Rights and Women’s Rights movements and pushed for social programs we now take for granted, including the minimum wage, a 40-hour work week, Social Security, and Medicare.

We are celebrating National Social Work Month (March) by featuring our newest social workers. They bring a wide range of experience and education to their new roles and have already made a positive impact on our programming and the people with whom they work.

Enjoys working with families

Auralie Haven

Auralie Haven, LGSW, joined us in the role of Family Clinician with the St. Louis Park, MN, clinic Navigate Program. She got her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Hamline University in Minneapolis, MN, her Master of Social Work from the U of M and is currently a Licensed Graduate Social Worker. Auralie previously interned with the Adult Strengths Program at the M Health Fairview Riverside Clinic location from September of 2019 to May of 2020 as an IRT (Individual Resiliency Training) specialist.

Her areas of professional interest include psychotic disorders, disability, and chronic illness, interprofessional work, and social justice. “I enjoy helping families learn about psychosis, figure out how to cope with it, and cultivate resiliency in their lives,” she said.

Tackling new challenges

Hilary Dunn

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker Hilary Dunn joined the Social Sciences Division in 2020. She is working with the STRENGTHS and Clinically High-Risk programs. She came to the department from St. Joseph's Hospital in St. Paul, MN, where she spent several years in an inpatient mental health unit. “I am now tackling new challenges and growing as a clinician and is grateful to be part of such a dedicated team of professionals,” she said.

In her free time, Hillary enjoys reading, gardening, traveling, making pasta with her husband, and exploring her new city of White Bear Lake, MN.

Bringing broad experience

Lara Brown

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker Lara Brown joined the department recently as a clinical social worker for the Treatment Resistant Depression program. She has worked as an outpatient therapist, an inpatient clinical treatment coordinator, school social worker, and had a brief foray with the Hennepin County public defender’s office before joining University of Minnesota Physicians.

“I am trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, and have experience and interest in working with mood disorders, grief, anxiety, and the LGBTQIA+ community,” she said.

Lara’s interests outside of work include planting things, animals, vintage sofas, and documentaries.

Learn more about social work.