As Katie Campbell can attest, social work in long-term care environments isn’t limited to inside a community’s walls.

“Sometimes when you’re the social worker, you’re the social worker for your residents, but you’re also the social worker for the families, for partners in care in our local communities and also your care team members,” Campbell says.

It’s a field with an impact that might be limited only by one’s imagination, as Campbell repeatedly has proven. In 2022, she sought out and won a federal grant to bring virtual reality glasses to a Majestic Care community in Indiana. There, residents can virtually immerse themselves in world travel, pet interactions, experiences in nature and the arts, games and music — all while increasing cognitive stimulation and engagement and decreasing loneliness and anxiety. She hopes to expand the program companywide.

It is for efforts such as this one that Katie Campbell was elected an “Unsung Hero” category award winner in the 2023 McKnight’s Pinnacle Awards.

She started her professional career in 2000 as a certified nursing assistant, eventually joining the Hospice Group in Indianapolis, where she held multiple roles coordinating social work, community outreach and bereavement.

An executive director at Magnolia Health Systems, CommuniCare Health Services and Compassus, she joined Majestic Care in May 2020 and now manages social services at 45 locations.

She got her actual start in long-term care years earlier. Campbell fondly remembers that as a young girl, her mother would take her to a memory care unit where she worked, often handing her a radio. “They would love to dance,” her mother would tell her.

Campbell earned an undergraduate degree in social work and sociology from Ball State University in Muncie, IN, where she now is a member of the community advisory board for the school’s social work department.

In 2019, she was awarded the ATHENA Young Professional Award by Women in Business Unlimited in Muncie.