Social Worker Spotlight: Genesis Ibarra, UCSF Benioff Children’s Oakland

Photo of Genesis Ibarra, Medical Social Worker, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

Q: What has it meant to be a social worker through COVID, working with sick children and their families? 

Being a social worker, specifically being a medical social worker, through COVID has meant being in the frontlines and bearing witness to the pain, suffering and hardships patients and families are encountering. Children and families are facing unprecedented circumstances that are affecting them physically, emotionally and psychologically. Being a social worker during this time has meant that more than ever I needed to be present, supportive and advocate for patients and families. 

Q: How do you work with RMHC Bay Area to serve families? 

I work with RMHC Bay Area to serve families by helping distribute the delicious daily meals they provide to our patients and families at both our main UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland campus and our offsite Summit campus. I also utilize their lodging program for families who travel to our hospital from hundreds of miles away and need assistance with lodging during their child’s hospital stay.  It is always wonderful to work with RMHC Bay Area given their great communication and empathy. 

Q: What do you value most about working with the Ronald McDonald House team? 

I value the compassion and commitment that the RMH team shows every time they provide services and support to our patients and families. I know that the RMH team truly cares about making a difference and supporting children and families.

Q: During stressful, uncertain times, what gets you through it? What makes you resilient?  

During stressful times what gets me through is the love that I have for social work and for helping others. This desire to help others comes from my family, who as immigrants facing numerous hardships still prioritized helping others. I see how resilient our patients and families are and that fuels me to keep doing the work that I am doing. Lastly, my faith, mindfulness, meditation and talking with friends and family allows me to hit the “refresh” button and face the new challenges of each day with hope.

See more of the amazing social workers that we’ve featured this Social Work Month.