2018 Award For Excellence Recipient, Fredda Zuckerman

Fredda Zuckerman receives the 2018 NAPSW Award for Excellence

The National Association of Perinatal Social Workers proudly delivered the 2018 Award for Excellence to Fredda Zuckerman, LICSW, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Award for Excellence recognizes outstanding achievement in the field of perinatal social work, including clinical work, education and research, and service to the organization. This Award is the highest honor bestowed on NAPSW members and is an important way to recognize the accomplishments of our colleagues. This year’s award was presented at the 42nd annual conference during the opening banquet on May 2nd in Long Beach, California.

Fredda was nominated by member, Andrea Insoft, LICSW, of Newton, Massachusetts. Andrea said, “To me Fredda exemplifies what a perinatal social worker should be. She has successfully bridged the gap between working in a hospital setting to a thriving private practice. Her career has centered around providing care to children and families in a variety of hospital settings. Fredda is responsi- ble for recruiting many of us into this wonderful organization and educating and supporting us. Fredda has often been referred to as the ‘raffle lady’ as she was frequently spotted at conferences running around selling raffle tickets.

“Fredda is also very well respected in the New England perinatal community. She served on the planning board of the Partners in Perinatal Health Conference, which coordinated a daylong conference in New England attended by almost 500 people. Fredda is amazing. And she can even still do a split!!!!”

Fredda’s two adult children, Rebecca and Michael, presented her with “Hollywood’s Best Mom Oscar” and told conference attendees about Fredda’s dedication to her perinatal social work career and dedication to her family as well. They acknowledged how proud they were of their mother receiving the Award for Excellence.

Fredda received her Bachelor of Arts from American University, Washington, D.C., a master’s degree in education from Northeastern University, Boston, and a master’s degree in social work from Simmons College School of Social Work. Fredda started perinatal social work in 1983 at New- ton-Wellesley Hospital, where she worked in OB, the special care nurs- ery, pediatrics, and child protection team. In 1988 she helped to develop the HEAL Program (Help Educate After Loss) a multidisciplinary pro- gram to provide care for patients and families who experienced pregnancy losses. She was the assistant production manager in the making of a documentary film about pregnancy loss, “There Was a Child.”  She joined the social work department at Massachusetts General Hospital in 1994 as they re-established an obstetric service after a 50-year hiatus. As the first OB social worker Fredda developed standards of care and the role of perinatal social work. She developed her passion for helping couples deal with pregnancy loss, became involved in the hospital’s obstetrics and pediatric bereavement program and taught medical students how to work with families grieving a perinatal loss. In 2002 Fredda received the Stephanie Macaluso Expertise in Clinical Practice Award from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Fredda also worked at New England Memorial Hospital, Stoneham, MA, as a chief social worker, including coordinator of Simmons College social work training program for child psychiatry, inpatient unit, and outpatient clinic. Before becoming the chief social worker, she worked as a pediatric social worker.

Fredda has been a presenter at national and state conferences and has published articles on a variety of perinatal issues. Other professional activities have included the alumni awards committee for Simmons College School of Social Work (1999-2013) and the National Association of Social Workers’ Symposium Program Planning Committee (2002-2004).

Fredda has been an outstanding member of NAPSW since 1987 and has distinguished herself in many ways: vice president (1991-1993); three terms on the NAPSW Board of Directors; nominating chair (1993-1995), regional liaison (1989-1991) and state representative (1987 to 1991). She is the current coordinator of the Massachusetts NAPSW chapter, a position she has held since 1991.

Fredda is currently employed in a general psychotherapy practice with offices in Boston and Wellesley, MA. She provides psychotherapy to individuals, couples and groups and specializes in bereavement, women’s health and all aspects of perinatal social work. She has worked in this practice for most of her social work career.

Fredda received many congratulatory letters from her colleagues. Here are several excerpts:

Lee Cohen, MD, Director of Women’s Health at MGH, wrote:

Across a period spanning two decades, I have seen Fredda give with her mind, heart and spirit to women whose lives are rocked by personal strife and psychiatric dis- order. Fredda maintains her stride, poise, grace, and humanity. I can- not imagine a worthier recipient for such special recognition”. It is such a privilege to honor Fredda!

Ali Laurens, RN, shared these thoughts:

It is with deepest pride and admiration—and absolutely no surprise—that I congratulate you on this honorable recognition. You have held the hands and hearts of countless couples as they braved pregnancy challenges and uncer- tainties. For what you have brought to me personally as a nurse, mom, and to the countless providers, and families with whom you have worked, we honor you! Congratulations on this much- deserved award. You have touched us all and we are better for it.

Dr. Jeffrey Ecker, MD, Chief OB/Gyn, MGH, wrote:

As a colleague for years, I know first-hand all you have offered to our patients facing unexpected sadness and losses. You have been a fearless and fierce voice advocat- ing what is needed. I want to recognize the voice and ear you have offered to me and the many providers. I know I speak for so many at Mass General when I offer thanks for the countless times you have helped dry our own tears and help mend our hearts. Congratulations and best wishes, Fredda. Thanks for years of collaboration and all you have done and continue to do.

Betty Wang, MD, shared this memory:

When I came to MGH over 10 years ago, you were so kind to share your expertise with me. Not only did I learn valuable skills but the real lessons I learned were watching you speak about our mutual patients with such under- standing and compassion. The pro- gram you created at MGH to honor those children lost during pregnancy or newborns had a last- ing impact on me as well as the families affected by such losses. I am so happy for you being honored for this award … you are so deserving of it!

Ellen, a former social work director at MGH, shared her memories of Fredda:

I remember interviewing you for your first social work position. I was struck by your warmth, com- petence, and the respect that you demonstrated to both your col- leagues and patients. I remain in awe of how you developed the social work position in the newly formed OB dept. In your tenure at MGH, you initiated and spear- headed the Neonatal and Pedi- atrics Obstetrics Memorial Serv- ice. This Service grew to become an essential component of the grieving process for so many fami- lies and staff for so many years. Fredda, you blend the best aspects of a clinical social worker in your private practice of warmth, dedication, skill and humor. I am thrilled that you are being honored with the Excellence Award.”

NAPSW congratulates and salutes Fredda on her accomplishments and on receiving this prestigious award!