NASW to Honor Recipients of 2009 National Awards
“The recipients of our 2009 National Awards have made inestimable
contributions to the field of social work.”
By Matthew Malamud, News Staff
|Dorothy I. Height will be presented with the 2009 Lifetime
NASW will honor its 2009 National Awards recipients April 23
at a ceremony in Washington.
The awards — Lifetime Achievement Award, Social Worker of the
Year, Public Elected Official of the Year and Public Citizen of the Year —
honor social workers and others who have, through their work or advocacy,
advanced the principles and vision of the profession.
“The recipients of our 2009 National Awards have made inestimable
contributions to the field of social work, and in doing so have alleviated
suffering, advanced freedom, promoted equality under the law, and helped create
a better future for our children,” NASW President James J. Kelly said.
Dorothy I. Height was NASW’s clear choice for the 2009
Lifetime Achievement Award.
“Dr. Height is a civil rights icon whose tireless effort on
behalf of others exemplifies the social work commitment to social justice and
advocacy,” NASW Executive Director Elizabeth J. Clark said. “She is an
inspirational leader whose legacy will be one of strength, determination and
great achievement for future social work leaders to follow.”
At age 98, Height continues to advocate for social justice as
the chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on
Civil Rights, the largest civil rights coalition in the U.S., and as chair and
president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women.
The scope of Height’s accomplishments is vast and has earned
her national recognition, including the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in
1997 by President Bill Clinton and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2003.
Rep. Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., and Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.,
both social workers, introduced the Dorothy I. Height and Whitney M. Young Jr.
Social Work Reinvestment Act in honor of Height and fellow civil rights leader
Whitney Young. It is the most comprehensive piece of federal legislation ever
created to address the challenges facing the social work profession.
|S. Megan Berthold is receiving the 2009 NASW Social Worker of the Year Award.
For her work to help refugee survivors of torture through
service and advocacy on their behalf, NASW named S. Megan Berthold its 2009
Social Worker of the Year.
Berthold is a clinical social worker and director of research
and evaluation for the Program for Torture Victims, a Los Angeles-based
nonprofit organization that provides free psychological, medical and case
management services to victims of state-sponsored torture.
“Dr. Berthold has touched the lives of many through the broad
reach of her work with victims and her deep commitment to social justice, and
is a deserving recipient of our recognition,” said Clark.
NASW named Massachusetts State Rep. Ruth Balser its 2009
Public Elected Official of the Year for her dedication to social justice,
health care, education and mental health issues.
A clinical psychologist by training, Balser’s work on behalf
of parents and children began during her years as a city board member for
Newton, Mass., from 1988-1996. Realizing the lack of affordable child care in
the city, she began the Newton Child Care Commission, a group whose aim is to
raise funds to provide vouchers for quality day care to families in need.
|Massachusetts State Rep. Ruth Balser is NASW’s 2009 Public
Elected Official of the Year.
In 1999, Balser was elected to the Massachusetts House of
Representatives. Her most recent legislative success was in the area of mental
health parity. After 10 years of lobbying, advocating and coalition building,
the state legislature in 2008 passed a mental health parity bill that extends
full parity of coverage to sufferers of substance abuse, post traumatic stress
disorder, eating disorders and autism.
“Ruth Balser has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in
proposing and passing legislation to expand services for mentally ill children
and adults,” said NASW President Kelly. “She is a worthy example of how
critical it is for health care professionals to be involved in government.”
And finally, Harold House is NASW’s 2009 Public Citizen of the
Year for his advocacy on behalf of incarcerated juveniles with mental health
House’s three decades of advocacy have resulted in vast
improvements for children in foster care, as well as disabled students
incarcerated at the Indiana Department of Corrections. He has raised more than
$200 million in funding for juvenile justice and delinquency programs and has
traveled the nation to promote improvements to the mental health system.
House was influential in establishing several education
programs for underserved youth, including the Vermillion County Opportunity
Program, Indiana Pacers Academy and the Federal Magnet Programs for
Indianapolis Public Schools.
Before moving to Indiana, House served as mayor of Owensville,
Ohio, where he led a campaign to eradicate drug trafficking affecting children
in the community. In 2003, he was honored by the Indiana House of Representatives
with a resolution recognizing his efforts on behalf of troubled minority youth.
“Harold House has been an exemplary public servant and
champion for youth who often don’t have a voice,” Kelly said. “His dedication
to improving the lives of children is admirable and is deserving of our
All of the recipients are expected to attend the awards
ceremony, which will take place at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol
Last month, the NASW Foundation honored its 2009 award
recipients. At a ceremony in Washington, Samira K. Beckwith received the Ruth
Knee/Milton Wittman Award for Lifetime Achievement in Health and Mental Health
Practice and John E. Hansan received the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award
for Advancing the Public Understanding of the Social Work Profession.
Ronald W. Manderscheid, who could not attend the ceremony, was
the recipient of the Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Award for Outstanding Achievement
in Health and Mental Health Policy. NASW Foundation Director Robert Carter Arnold
said Manderscheid will be presented with his award at a later date.
A story in the Sept. 2009 issue of NASW News profiled the
Foundation awards recipients.
NASW and the Foundation are accepting nominations for the 2010
National Awards and Recognition Awards. For more information, go to www.socialworkers.org/governance/awards/default.asp and www.naswfoundation.org/recognition/default.asp.
From April 2010 NASW News. © 2010 National
Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. NASW News
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