Susie Layne, program manager at the West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services, is the recipient of the West Virginia University School of Social Work’s 2018 Anita S. Harbert Outstanding Achievement in Aging Award.
She is recognized for her contributions across West Virginia, especially informing the public and professionals on the neglect, abuse and exploitation of the elderly and disabled individuals.
“(Layne’s) passion is so noticeable and contagious; her energy cannot be ignored,” said Wade Samples, an adult protective service consultant at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Children and Families who nominated Layne for the award. “Layne is impassioned with protecting and advocating for vulnerable adults. No one fights for protecting the elderly and advocates for the elderly like her. She has always led by example and showed initiative to protect those who cannot protect themselves.”
Layne received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from West Virginia State University in 1991 and has over 27 years of experience working with families in West Virginia. She created the first Elder Abuse Awareness Day in West Virginia in 2010, which is an annual seminar discussing the abuse, neglect and financial exploitation on elderly people, and coordinated the event until 2013.
Layne has also served as the senior health and human resource specialist at the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, where she previously worked as a social services supervisor and protective service worker trainee.
“I really believe that the key to any good social worker is knowing how to listen,” Layne said. “Everybody has got a story to tell.”
The award was presented on Wednesday, June 13 at the WVU Summer Institute on Aging Conference.
The Anita S. Harbert Outstanding Achievement in Aging Award is named after Anita S. Harbert, who founded the Summer Institute on Aging in 1977 while chair of the School of Social Work. The Summer Institute on Aging conference trains social workers and other professionals in the field of aging.
“This award is not totally mine,” Layne said. “It’s everybody that has worked with me or has been a part of my journey that makes it important because we share the award. You’re only as good as the people around you, and I’ve had some very good people that have worked with me.”