Cedars-Sinai Blog

Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Social Worker Gabrielle Clay

Social Worker, Gabrielle Clay, Cedars-Sinai

Meet Gabrielle Clay, a social worker who helps patients recovering from surgeries.

Sometimes this means helping them find outside resources to support them on their recovery journey. Sometimes, it means being a guide in navigating the complexities of the healthcare system. It always means listening carefully to understand just what a patient needs so they can craft the right plan.

Gabrielle shared with us the important role of social workers and how becoming one took her all the way across the country—then back to work just a few miles from where she graduated from high school.

What inspired you to become a social worker?

Gabrielle Clay: When I was in college at the University of Pennsylvania, I was very inspired by two social workers who organized the women's center at the university. They were both dynamic, powerful women who were very outspoken and good advocates for women.

I saw what they could do as social workers, and I was attracted to that. I wanted to be involved and learn more. When I graduated, I went to Bryn Mawr College Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research to get my master's.

What can a social worker do for a patient?

GC: Our work is anything from listening to people, trying to empower people, connecting them with outside resources and helping them navigate the healthcare system.

We're trained mental health specialists. We are there for them and their emotional needs as well. We can help supplement their support while they're in the hospital in addition to connecting them with resources.

What do you love about social work?

GC: I like getting to meet new patients and new people. They allow me to hear their story and I do enjoy that.

You're never really sure what you're going to encounter when you come into a patient's room for the first time, so you have to be kind of open. It's important to be as present as possible in that room when you're meeting with patients and their families. 

Where did you grow up?

GC: I'm a local. I grew up here in L.A. I went to Fairfax High School. I went out to Philadelphia for college and lived and worked there for about five years. Then I decided to move back home to Los Angeles.

What do you do to unwind?

GC: I've just started to get into hiking a little bit. I'm mostly doing day hikes and sometimes some overnight outdoor canyon. I like to go over to Runyon Canyon because it's so close. I'm looking forward to the days getting longer!