Ms. Jennifer R. Banak, MSW, LISW-S is a professional social work leader within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). She completed her Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2001 at Gannon University in Erie, PA where she grew up. She went on the obtain her Master of Social Work degree in 2003 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is clinically licensed in the state of Ohio. Ms. Banak is a Doctoral Candidate in Social Work at the University of Kentucky.
Ms. Banak currently serves as an executive business manager for the Veterans Health Administration under the Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders (SCI/D) national program office. She works to incorporate legislation and policy into program development serving veterans with spinal cord injuries. She has been employed in the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2004, demonstrating a commitment to our nations veterans and their well-being. She has contributed to program development for mental health, home care, primary care, specialty care, trauma, technology, and administrative leadership.
Ms. Banak holds a passion for research surrounding leadership models, leadership development, supportive supervision, humor in supervision and impact on retention, turn over and burnout in social workers. She is currently revising her final research Capstone for her doctorate, which focuses on the implications of developing a mandatory social work supervision training curriculum within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). The VHA is the largest integrated healthcare system in the country. It employs over 19,000 social workers nationwide. Her research in this area has potential for impacting national provision of services provided to over 9 million veterans.
Ms. Banak was a Deans List scholar in graduate school. She has distinctions of being a Leadership Development Institute graduate. She was appointed as a facility service leader at the Chillicothe, OH VA medical center for four years, leading organizational change in cultural transformation. She has presented to high level leaders in the VHA on topics such as revision of transportation costs and accessibility for veterans to medical appointments, cultural transformation, and case management models. She was the key host to a televised Prisoner of War (POW) memorial service, which included the dedication of a POW chair placed at the Bay Pines, FL VA Medical Center in 2017.