Social Work Month Highlight: Meet Annette Copa, MSW, LCSW, IMH-E(r) (IV) (She/Her)

Photo of Annette with her cat Tippy
Annette and Tippy

What class(s) do you currently teach at UW Madison?
I currently teach SW 742: Assessing and Treating Children and Adolescents. This is my final semester with the Eau Claire site Part-Time MSW Program.

What inspired you to become a social worker?
I’ve always been drawn to the ways the “human condition” or elements essential to our existence show up in people, and the quest to ease pain and suffering in myriad forms. My path to social work was a little “twisty” and indirect. After high school, I attended Purdue University and tried to fit into a version of what others thought I should be. I left after a year and transferred to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo majoring in the performing arts (dance). I honestly can’t remember why I minored in social work, but recall “the human condition” showing up in my choreography and collaborations with other artists, so the intention was present. After graduation, I danced professionally with a company based in Washington DC, and had occasional gigs as a guest choreographer/artist in residence. In DC, I witnessed daily examples of the unjust, racist, and inhumane treatment of the homeless population. This was during the 80s and the advocacy of Mitch Snyder and the CCNV were a visible force in the media. These experiences and lots of reflection led to leaving the dance company, and earning a MSW from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor – Go Blue!!

What is your current social work position?
I’m an Integrated Behavioral Health Provider in Pediatrics at Mayo Clinic Health System (MCHS)- Eau Claire. I also teach and provide reflective consultation for the University of Wisconsin, Department of Psychiatry, Infant, Early Childhood, and Family Mental Health Capstone Certificate Program. I have a generalist pediatric practice with specialization in infant and early childhood mental health, to include Child-Parent Psychotherapy – an evidence-based trauma intervention for children ages birth – five.

What are you experiencing as a social worker during the Covid-19 pandemic?
I’m absolutely stunned by the collective weight of individual, family, community and global suffering and in particular the increased mental health needs of children and families. I’m also struck by the enduring and unexpected demonstrations of beauty, love and kindness between people – known and unknown. This helps me hold and extend hope.

Photo of Annette on a bridge at a running raceWe want to thank you Annette for all your incredible contributions to the UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work MSW Part-Time Program!
It’s been an honor to be part of the UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work Part-Time MSW Program and I’ve loved learning from and teaching our students. I look forward to continued connections with former and current students.

Thank you all for allowing me to be a little part of your social work journey and stay in touch!