"We have families from all over—from a family of migrant farm workers to a family from a high-tech firm. We get the sickest of babies here.”

Emily Perez, social work

"Every single family in the NICU gets seen by a social worker. We’re the front line of mental health care, working to enhance coping, addressing difficult family needs, working closely with the medical team coordinating interdisciplinary care, helping families alleviate secondary suffering. We relieve secondary suffering by helping parents with work stressors, getting access to local housing, taking care of other kids so parents can focus on the needs of their baby. We always tell our prospective interns that no two days look the same. This isn’t a job for people who like predictability. We’re always trying to treat the whole family."

"Social work is often one constant in a family's experience here. Physicians and nurses rotate, but the same social worker follows throughout the inpatient course which can span weeks to several months. I feel very fortunate and humbled to be a part of that journey."

In this season of thanks, we're grateful for employees like Emily who put their hearts and souls into helping our patients heal. Donate today to support more humans at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford.