Social Worker Spotlight: Rebecca Gates, UCSF Benioff Children’s

Photo of Rebecca Gates, Manager, Pediatric Social Work, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.

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

The issues that our families struggled with before COVID were intensified by the pandemic. Patients and families have needed social workers more than ever just to keep their heads above the water. Although things are loosening up in terms of COVID restrictions, the lasting impact of the emotional and financial strain our families, and frankly our communities, have endured is yet to be seen. 

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

An unfortunate consequence of COVID was the closure of communal spaces, which for us meant the closing of our embedded house. I’m very grateful for RMHC willingness to explore alternative ways to support our families despite not having a brick and mortar location within our hospital by offering free lunches and dinners. This may seem small to outsiders but to our families this assured a nutritious meal that may otherwise been skipped due to lack of funds.

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

Their ability to think outside the box when it comes to supporting our patients and their families.

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

We’re in this together. The need to be hospitalized or seen in clinic hasn’t changed due to COVID. I used to say that a child’s smile was all I needed to get through a tough day.  Mask wearing has made this a little trickier these days. I now realize it is the joy behind that smile keeps me resilient.  

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