A born helper, Edna M. Phipps volunteered by helping others at her church from a young age, recalling how she would bring home curtains and choir robes to launder without being asked. Since that time, she has cultivated her passion for helping others through an accomplished career in social work. Earning a Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1989, she went on to become a licensed clinical social worker by 1994 and began her career as a social worker with the local Community Mental Health Center, where she spent 20 years garnering significant expertise in crisis intervention and critical incidents. Today, Ms. Phipps is a licensed clinical social worker in her private practice of Edna Phipps LCSW LLC.
In addition to providing telehealth services through her private practice, Ms. Phipps has also contributed her skills to hospitals and insurance companies. She performs what she calls “comfort rounding,” where she visits hospitals to provide encouragement and self-care training to nurses and other health care professionals. This has been particularly important since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Phipps considers the work she did on the frontline in hospitals during the early days of the pandemic to be among her greatest professional achievements. Helping others through developing programs and services to meet the needs of people in her community has always been the most gratifying part of her career.
Growing up poor in a large family, Ms. Phipps attributes much of her success to hard work and determination. She went to graduate school as a single mom with two small children and credits her determination, God’s grace and the people around her for seeing her through. When she isn’t working, Ms. Phipps is incredibly active in her community, including as a trustee at her church, a volunteer at her local food pantry and as an organizer of grief workshops. Looking toward the future, Ms. Phipps hopes to see herself retired and traveling, though she also intends to continue working to help others through community crisis organizations such as FEMA.