NASW, Foundation announce 2016 award recipients

May 25, 2016

The recipients of the 2015 NASW National Awards and the NASW Foundation Awards have been announced.

The awardees will be honored during “A Night at the Awards” ceremony on June 24 during NASW’s national conference, “Leading Change, Transforming Lives.” The conference will be held June 22-25 in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Jill Manske Social Work Pioneer Award also will be presented during the awards ceremony.

NASW National Awards

Social Worker of the Year: John Cowart

Cowart retired in 2015 from the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Asheville, N.C., where he worked as a social work supervisor. 

Lifetime Achievement: Susan Gray

Gray is professor emerita at Barry University School of Social Work in Miami, Fla. She was previously the school’s doctoral program director and professor.

Public Citizen of the Year: Mildred Richard-Edwards

Richard-Edwards is a peer mentor at Friends For Life in Memphis, Tenn., an organization that provides support to persons affected by HIV/AIDS. She helps those newly diagnosed as HIV positive, particularly pregnant women and women with infants.

Public Elected Official of the Year: Luis Alejo

Alejo is currently serving his third and final term in the California State Assembly.

International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award: Brené Brown.

Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, and she has spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness and shame.

Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award: Stephen Baron and Joan Ditzion

Baron has been a leader in the public behavioral health system in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region for more than 35 years.

Ditzion is an original founder of Our Bodies Ourselves and co-author of all nine editions of “Our Bodies, Ourselves” as well as “Ourselves and Our Children,” and “Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause.”

Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award: Mercedes Bern-Klug

Bern-Klug, associate professor at the University of Iowa School of Social Work, is well-known as a leader in the field of health and long-term care in both the area of gerontological social work in nursing homes and in end-of-life care.

From the May 2016 NASW News. NASW members can read the full story here.