Ilana Marcucci-Morris is a licensed clinical social worker at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA.
What inspired you to pursue a career in behavioral health?
My parents were foster parents. We welcomed hundreds of children into our home representing a wide range of lived experiences and cultural backgrounds. Because I lived with many of my foster siblings for years and years of my own childhood and adolescence, they became family. So when it came time to figure out what I should be doing as an adult, social work and mental health care just made the most sense. I also just know personally what it means to truly suffer; from my own experiences and what I witnessed and learned about from my siblings. So I guess you could say mental health chose me.
How has being in NUHW helped you in your profession?
I believe all people have the right to health and happiness. Unfortunately, systems of profit, greed, and supremacy have denied so many of us that right. I am a proud NUHW member because together as health care workers, our power to demand the health care industry take care of its premium-paying patients is strong. The health care industry depends on our labor. So when we organize and speak up together for better access to care, racial equity, disability rights, transgender patients, and gender-affirming care, postpartum recovery services for womxn, anti-weight stigma, and so many other ways our systems have historically excluded or denied our community’s care needs, we can make access to care easier and demand our industry to see mental health as a central factor of overall health. When I get to give a patient a sooner appointment with a provider that understands their unique experience (something we as a union fought for), my morale improves and I am more confident in my ability to truly help that person access that right to health and happiness.