Health Professional News, Mighty Blog

Children’s Minnesota social worker sets international mental health care standards for PCD patients

When patients come through the doors at Children’s Minnesota, they receive expert medical care from our team of professionals. While our patients receive expert medical care, there’s another side to care that requires a serious level of attention – a patient’s mental health and well-being while living with a chronic medical condition.

That’s where kid experts like Tami Vance, LICSW, come into play. Tami is a social worker for the cystic fibrosis (CF) and primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) programs at Children’s Minnesota and has been a groundbreaker – especially for patients with PCD.

Over her nine years at Children’s Minnesota, Tami not only shines as an outstanding social worker inside our walls, but she’s also an expert voice and advocate for PCD mental health care internationally. 

Tami Vance, LICSW, and Dr. Anne Griffiths, medical director of the PCD Clinic, at a conference.
Tami Vance, LICSW, and Dr. Anne Griffiths, medical director of the PCD Clinic.

PCD conference in Puerto Rico

Earlier this year, Tami and Dr. Anne Griffiths, medical director of the PCD Clinic, were invited to present at the PCD Foundation’s PCD On the Move International Scientific Conference in Puerto Rico and share their expertise on mental health care for PCD patients.

Children’s Minnesota is one of the few health care systems that have a dedicated staff member addressing mental health with PCD patients. The clinical social work department at Children’s Minnesota has been committed to advancing health equity for all patients, including PCD patients. Currently, there is limited public information regarding PCD and mental health, yet many chronic conditions, like PCD, show an overwhelming connection with depression and anxiety.

“I felt very honored to be able to speak about the importance of mental health in PCD care and advocate for other PCD centers to support a dedicated social worker/mental health professional on their team,” said Tami. “Most PCD centers don’t have a dedicated social worker, and I’m hoping mental health care becomes the standard for all PCD centers.” 

Dr. Griffiths and Tami were first invited to speak at a PCD conference in 2016 to share depression and anxiety screening data. Since then, they have done multiple speaking engagements with PCD patient groups and provided guidance to various health care systems in North America and Europe regarding establishing mental health care for PCD centers. 

Tami and team members from the PCD program at the PCD conference in Puerto Rico.
Tami and team members from the PCD program at the PCD conference in Puerto Rico.

“Dr. Anne Griffiths has been a true champion for mental health and all my work with the PCD population since the very beginning. I wouldn’t have the opportunities to speak about mental health and advocate for this work without her creating the path with me,” said Tami. 

Dr. Griffiths replied, “Sometimes, as medical providers we benefit from recalling how crucial good mental health is in our pursuit of improving overall health. Tami champions that for our patients and families, influencing how they receive their care here at Children’s Minnesota.” 

Please join us in recognizing Tami for her incredible work and dedication in supporting the mental health and well-being of our CF and PCD patients! 

Work at Children’s Minnesota

We at Children’s Minnesota have been caring for kids for 100 years. That kind of devotion requires a powerhouse team, health care professionals with talent, experience and heart. If that sounds like you, we’d love to have you join us. Apply today:

Alexandra Rothstein