Gloria Velazquez, PhD Candidate, LCSW
Director of Social Services & Integrated Behavioral Health
1. What is your role/position with NHCLV and which location do you work at?
My role is Director of Social Services & Integrated Behavioral Health. I am a social worker by training. I have been with the organization for approximately 4 years. I oversee programming for our social services which includes our case managers who primarily help to secure medical insurance for our patients and outreach into the community.
Integrated Behavioral Health provides in-house behavioral health services consisting of social workers, a part-time psychiatrist, and upcoming telepsychiatry. The Center of Excellence care management team supports the opioid use disorder population. There’s also the Neighbor2Neighbor time banking program for members. In addition, NHCLV has community health workers supporting our patients, and students have the opportunity to complete internships in social services and/or integrated behavioral health. As a social worker I provide patient counseling at all three NHCLV sites, and I provide those services in English and Spanish.
2. Why do you think a Federally Qualified Health Center is important in caring for members of the Lehigh Valley community?
NHCLV has many services that are beneficial to the Lehigh Valley community where patients and community members can get help in one central location. The services provided by NHCLV are accessible for patients as we are embedded right in their neighborhood. In addition, some staff members grew up in these same neighborhoods and understand what our patients go through based on life experience.
3. What’s the most important thing you have learned working for an FQHC?
I learned that NHCLV can get very creative when trying to help a patient when barriers occur in their life.
4. What do you love most about your job?
I love seeing the positive progress our patients make when they start medical care or seek services with us.
5. What one piece of advice do you have for patients when it comes to caring for their health?
Ask questions and make sure you understand everything before you leave the office.