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NASW-NC taps School of Social Work alum for advocate of the year award

Chase Holleman, MSW ’17, has been selected by the National Association of Social Workers – North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) as the 2018 recipient for the Myrna Miller Wellons Advocate of the Year Award.

The award is given annually to someone who has demonstrated a passion for advocating for the needs of the social work profession and who has served as a champion for change in public policy, both for the social work profession and for clients. This is the second time Holleman has been recognized by the NASW-NC Chapter. In 2016, he was honored with the Toby Brown Award for Bachelor of Social Work students. Late last year, Holleman was also among 11 state residents to be recognized with the North Carolina Dogwood Award, which honors those who are dedicated to keeping people safe, healthy and happy in their communities.

A leader in the recovery community, Holleman was tapped for the NASW-NC award for his impressionable impact on improving state policies to address the opioid epidemic. His efforts have included conversations with Gov. Roy Cooper, Attorney General Josh Stein, state legislators, law enforcement, first responders, educators as well as with members of the general public.

According to NASW-NC, “Holleman crusades tirelessly to fight against stigma and increase access to medical care for anyone impacted from the opioid epidemic. His passion has helped improve the lives of many in his community through his work and personal advocacy.”

Holleman has been a leader in his community since his undergraduate career at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC-G). In May 2015, he founded and served as campus president of the Student Recovery Alliance. A year later, he founded the Guilford County Naloxone Task Force, which educates and distributes naloxone kits in the community.

In addition, Holleman has been active in many state and national organizations, including the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, where he led a syringe exchange program; and the Alzheimer’s Association, where he served as an ambassador and engaged with state and congressional leaders about the impact of the disease on communities, families, and caregivers.

Holleman, who works with UNC-G as a rapid response team navigator for Guilford County, has said that his advocacy efforts are a tribute to his mother, who was diagnosed with an aggressive early-onset dementia at 53.

Holleman will receive the 2018 NASW-NC Myrna Miller Wellons Advocate of the Year Award at the state chapter’s Social Work Ethics Conference and Awards Luncheon on March 23 at the Durham Convention Center.

The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina (NASW-NC) is a membership organization of professional social workers in North Carolina. NASW promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.