Ann Maxwell, AM '96
2004 Recipient of the Elizabeth Butler Award
A social worker who evaluates health and human services programs for the federal government, Ann Maxwell is the 2004 Recipient of the Elizabeth Butler Award.
Ann Maxwell has had an opportunity to improve services for millions of people in her position as a project leader in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), Office of Evaluation and Inspections. "I have been fortunate to see my research affect national policy in ways that have helped millions of HHS beneficiaries and saved taxpayer dollars," said Maxwell. "As a firm believer in the power of information to make the world a better place, achieving this type of impact is the primary motivation behind my work."
Maxwell credits her SSA education with her ability to work on a wide variety of topics, ranging from Medicaid drug pricing, to prenatal HIV testing, to child support. "My education at SSA has helped me in my career in countless ways. Primarily, it provided me with a particular perspective, a way of seeing the world and analyzing the information about it. It is a mind-set of a generalist, as I seek to understand not only each component of a system or issue in-depth, but the various interrelationships as well," she noted. "It also taught me to combine human compassion and understanding into hard, cold issues analysis to produce a more sophisticated and real analysis of the world."
Maxwell brings the values of a social worker into her personal life as well. As a volunteer, she is actively involved in encouraging artistic expression in others. An avid photographer, Maxwell is a founding member and leader of Art House, an artists' cooperative. Art House seeks to revitalize neighborhoods through artists' contributions to the community. She is also a volunteer with the organization Help Ease Local Poverty (HELP), and is developing a calendar of photographs taken by people who are homeless.
"Ann Maxwell epitomizes the kind of social worker SSA strives to produce: smart, unconventional, engaging rather than condescending, eclectic in her interests and in her activities, and never ceasing to push the envelope with regard to where social workers can go and in what venues they can wield influence," wrote Eric Lock, A.M. '96 and current Ph.D. student, in his letter nominating Maxwell for the Butler Award.
This is not the first time Maxwell has been recognized for her work and dedication to the field of social work and social welfare. In 2001, she was accepted into a two-year Leadership Development Program, and in 2002, she received the OIG Excellence in Program Evaluation Award.
Tom Wedekind, AM '73, chair of the 2004 Butler Award committee says, "I was certainly impressed by the letters supporting Ann's nomination. To quote one, 'Just as SSA is not a traditional social work school, Ann is not what most would recognize as a traditional social worker.' Her contributions to social policy show such great promise that I feel she embodied the ideals of the Butler Award."
"So many of the SSA alumni I know are doing the most amazing work, all with the intelligence and integrity and dedication I saw them display while at SSA. To be singled out as deserving special recognition from such a field of incredible people, is an honor in itself," Maxwell said.