The National Association of Social Workers awarded Colgate Alumna Karon Konner ’97 Social Worker of the Year for 2012. Konner is recognized for her work at Massachusetts General Hospital and her crisis intervention and support following domestic and international disasters.

“Every individual deserves equal rights and opportunities. We’re working for the most vulnerable and disenfranchised patients, so we are their voice when they may not be able to speak for themselves,” said Konner in her award video.

Konner, who majored in psychology at Colgate, earned a master of social work degree from Simmons College in Boston. She is recognized for her work at the hospital and also as a mental health specialist for the Massachusetts-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team. Konner travels internationally with the team to natural and manmade disasters, including  Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Massachusetts General Hospital Director of Social Services Marie Elena Gioiella praised Konner in the award video, characterizing her as a fierce advocate for patients.

“She can hone in on exactly what it is they need, and then represent that in whatever venues required,” Gioiella said. “Sometimes that’s in the community, sometimes it’s at the hospital, sometimes with care providers, and sometimes with families.”