Rachael Dawson-Baglien ’04

When Rachael Dawson-Baglien ‘04 graduated from FJA/JAMD, she knew she wanted to have a career where she could help others. After majoring in psychology at Albion College, she completed an accelerated masters program in clinical psychology at the Michigan School of Psychology. Upon graduation, she served two terms with AmeriCorps to earn her clinical psychology license. While in AmeriCorps, she worked with teenagers in Wayne County. When recounting her experience, she says, “I realized that I could be the best therapist/probation officer in the world, but unless systemic community issues were addressed, nothing would change.” 

She decided to go back to school for macro social work to focus on creating healthier communities, receiving her masters in macro social work/community organizing from the University of Michigan. “Now I have a job I love where I get to help make Washtenaw County an aging-friendly community and connect caregivers and older adults with resources.”

Rachael works for Catholic Social Services as project manager for their newest initiative, Ahead of the Curve. This innovative, web-based project connects older adults and caregivers with local resources and trains community members to recognize signs of elder abuse so they’re able to reach out to vulnerable older adults in their community. She manages an online directory of 500+ resources, publishes a weekly blog, schedules presentations, and is out in the community raising awareness.

Rachael is proud to be a connector for older adults, helping them to reduce barriers and find ways to pair needs with solutions. As a member of the AARP Ride @50+ Advisory Council, one of the accomplishments she is most proud of is connecting the Detroit Area Vaccine Hunters, who help schedule vaccine appointments, with the AARP Ride @50+ program, which helps schedule rides to vaccine appointments. In this role, Rachael helped increase the number of older adults who were able to be vaccinated.  

Rachael’s journey at FJA helped lead her to where she is today. “There was such a sense of possibility when I went to FJA because everything was so new. If we wanted a club or a specific type of minyan, we were empowered to make it happen. This is something I definitely took with me when I was doing programming for Jewish Young Professionals in Ann Arbor” she says. 

We are so proud of the work Rachael is doing in the community.