Michigan Chapter Social Worker &
Family Services Coordinator
The Michigan Chapter has contracted a new Social Worker. His name is Josué Meléndez-R.. He Started working for the Chapter 5/13/13. While he does not have previous HD experience, he does have experience with case management, disability applications, crisis intervention, counseling, and other social work services that we know will help those affected by HD. He is attending the National HDSA Convention, where he will go through the HD Social Worker Training.
Mr. Meléndez received a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from Loyola University Chicago in 2008 and a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Michigan State University (MSU) in May, 2013. Prior to obtaining a BSW, he served through HealthCorps (AmeriCorps) at a community health care agency in the Grand Rapids, MI area. In addition, he served in the position of HIV Counselor and Safer Sex Educator in the Grand Rapids, MI and Chicago, IL areas. From 2008 to 2012, Mr. Meléndez worked at Kent Health Plan, a non-profit government-funded health coverage provider in Kent County, MI. He currently serves the agency as a volunteer consultant. Before resigning from the position of Director of Member Services to pursue a MSW degree, Mr. Meléndez provided case management services, assisted clients applying for disability, facilitated trainings, developed agency policies, and managed social work and other direct service programs. He served as direct supervisor for the agency’s social work staff and interns, enrollment staff and AmeriCorps members, as well as assistant supervisor for other staff involved in social work related services.
Through work, volunteer and internship placements, Mr. Meléndez has experience with crisis intervention, case management, disability applications, diversity education, counseling, project development, program coordination and employee and student supervision, among other areas. Currently, Mr. Meléndez is working towards a Master of Arts degree in Higher Education at MSU. He also serves as Program Assistant at the MSU Office for International Students and Scholars, working on the creation and facilitation of MSU’s International Student Orientation.
In the position of Social Worker for the Michigan Chapter, Mr. Meléndez is looking forward to learning more about HD and assisting affected individuals and families in Michigan. He considers this a great opportunity to both apply his current skills and knowledge and gain valuable new ones.
The Social Worker's expertise with systems (family networks, healthcare providers, government and private support services, etc.) and interpersonal relationships (spouses, children, friends, coworkers, etc.) can be greatly beneficial to someone affected by Huntington's Disease. The Social Worker can help affected individuals, families and others determine how to move forward in difficult and complicated situations, connecting them with appropriate supports and services in their communities. These situations may include diagnosis, presentation or increase of symptoms, and changes in living situation needs, among many others.
Mr. Meléndez is available for consultation by telephone and for limited family/home visits. By appointment, individuals and families can meet with him before or after support group meetings around Michigan. Some ways he can help you and your family include:
* Provide an informational presentation for caregivers in adult foster care or nursing home settings
* Advocate for appropriate services for the affected persons
* Help locate an experienced doctor or neurologist
* Help find local resources for respite, placement, or in-home help
* Help connect family with other resources in their communities, and throughout the state and country
* Help coordinate communications between service providers and family members
* Help the family cope with HD as a group
* Provide information and guidance for caregivers, helping manage and reduce stress
* Assist in locating or developing ideas for speakers at support groups
Mr. Meléndez can be reached by phone on the Michigan Chapter Helpline (1-800-909-0073) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). He encourages you to contact him if you feel his services could be helpful.