The first time Khajae Henry met a social worker was when she was diagnosed with sickle cell disease as a child. During countless trips to the hospital, a social worker was there to support Henry and her family through times of crisis. Her presence had a lasting impact on Henry.
“Her passion and care for me and my family was what drew me to the field and made me realize this is what I wanted to do for others,” Henry said.
Now, Henry is a social worker at Riley Hospital for Children and a Class of 2020 alumna from the IU School of Social Work.
Henry studied at IUPUI where she served as a senator in the Bachelors of Social Work Student Association (BSWSA). During her time there, she continued to battle the symptoms of sickle cell disease, causing her to miss weeks of school.
Despite these obstacles, Henry thrived. She used her role as senator in BSWSA to speak out for fellow social workers and advocate for justice, and she completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in just four years.
These accomplishments, Henry said, wouldn’t have been possible without the network of faculty and staff who fought alongside her during her battle with sickle cell disease.
“Because of how understanding my professors were, I didn’t fall behind,” Henry said. “I was able to make up my work, and I didn’t feel pressured or guilty for asking for more time.”
Today, as Henry lives her passion to support the mental health and well-being of patients, she’s grateful for the community of educators who chose to put her health first.