The Fidelis Care Blog

Women’s History Month: A Pioneering Influence
3/25/2024 • Posted by Andrea Hurley-Lynch, LMSW, Fidelis Care HARP Clinical Director in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, In The Community

Women's History Month

As I reflect upon my life’s journey this Women’s History Month, I note several women who have influenced my career path. I am very blessed to have had a supportive mother, two grandmothers, and aunts who all prided themselves in working and caring for their families. They were active in the community and church as volunteers. I watched every single woman in my family hold a career and manage to take care of their household seamlessly. As a young girl, at every family event, I saw nurses, teachers, principals, researchers, political activists, and medical professionals all around me. Going to college was never a journey that I personally questioned. What I did question was, “What am I supposed to be?”

2024 marks my 20-year anniversary in the Social Work field. As a child, when I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember not knowing the answer. In high school, when beginning the college application process, I met with my school counselor and was unsure of what I wanted to go to school for. I was given a questionnaire to take, and the questionnaire results pointed to the direction of social work. At that time, I did not even know what the field of social work truly meant. I volunteered at a soup kitchen in Buffalo and led canned good donation drives for my high school as a leader on the volunteer committee. I knew I felt a sense of purpose when helping others but did not realize this “feeling” would become my career path.

During my first year of college, I was ambivalent about my major. I knew that I liked learning about people, different cultures and belief systems, and enjoyed sociology, but there did not seem to be a career path for me in that realm. In the back of my mind, I remembered that questionnaire I had taken in high school that pointed to social work as a career and registered for Social Work 101 my sophomore year. It was in Social Work 101 that I learned of Jane Addams.

I think it is only fitting to reflect on Jane Addams, one of the pioneers in the social work field, and her impact on my career journey during the month of March, which happens to be not only Women’s History Month, but also National Social Work Month. Jane Addams was an American social worker and Nobel Peace Prize winner. She was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and an advocate for the rights of the poor and immigrants. I connected with Jane’s story, as she also grew up in a family full of professionals, she was not sure of her career path, and ultimately decided she wanted to help people less fortunate than her. Jane lived in Chicago, where she opened Hull House, one of the first settlement houses in the United States. The home supported working class and immigrant families in a poor neighborhood that lacked access to education, childcare, and nutritious food. Families needed help and Hull House filled the gap.

The Fidelis Care HealthierLife – Health and Recovery Plan (HARP) program allows me to use my degree and my experience in case management and integrated care to provide help to our diverse membership. Continuing my career journey working with adults with health disparities at a macro level has allowed the opportunity to make a broader impact in my career across New York State. The membership that we serve often has medical, behavioral health, or substance use conditions combined with extremely complex social needs. Integration is key to supporting our members and I am grateful for my staff members who work tirelessly every day to advocate for our membership, set personalized member goals, coordinate care, and provide support during critical times in our members’ lives. My teams allow Jane Addams’ voice and vision to continue to be present in 2024 in continuous advocacy. Addams once said, “Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.”

Andrea Hurley-Lynch, LMSW, is the Fidelis Care HARP Clinical Director and oversees the HARP Care Management teams. The HARP teams provide telephonic care management to members living with various health conditions including severe and persistent mental illness, substance use, and chronic medical diagnoses. She holds a bachelor’s degree with a major in social work and minor in sociology from Nazareth University. She holds a master’s degree in social work from the State University at Buffalo.




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