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2014 Award Recipient

On June 4, 2014 the annual Anita S. Harbert Outstanding Achievement in Aging Award was presented to Loriann Sonntag.

The annual honor is awarded to a West Virginia social worker that has made a significant contribution in the field of aging.

Dr. Kristina Hash, Associate Professor and Gerontology Certificate Director, WVU School of Social Work nominated Ms. Sonntag for this award. Dr. Hash stated that “Loriann has been an extraordinary adjunct instructor for the School of Social Work and a pioneer in the expansion of gerontology education at WVU. Anyone who knows and has worked with Loriann would say that this award was meant for her.”

Sonntag is a graduate of the WVU School of Social Work’s MSW program and holds a graduate certificate in gerontology from WVU. She has been a social worker at Visiting Homemaker Service in Morgantown and has recently joined the staff at the Alzheimer’s Association- WV Chapter as program coordinator, where she supports and serves caregivers, families and persons with dementia by establishing essential interactive relationships with the community.

She was chosen by the WV Geriatric Education Center as a David K. Brown Geriatrics Scholar and is certified as a grief counselor, dementia care specialist, and an advance care planning facilitator.

Her practice background includes positions in home health, hospice, senior centers, and work with children and families in grief support groups. Her teaching and work interests include public policy and aging, women and aging, social work practice at the end of life, and medical and health issues such as Alzheimer's disease.

“Loriann has a heart of gold. She is a genuine caring person who has concern for whomever she is interacting with – she is present in her interactions – you can feel it,” said Jacki Englehardt, professional and community education coordinator for the WVU School of Social Work.

“I am sure her clients, students, and coworkers know this focused compassion as well because it is just who Loriann is.”