Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Achievement Award Selection Panel

Authorization and Accountability

In March 1989, the Board of Directors accepted the creation of the Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Health/Mental Health Achievement Awards. Milton Wittman (deceased) and Ruth Knee co-founded this award program. The Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Achievement Award Selection Panel will report to the Awards Committee.


To screen and select finalists for two (2) annual awards as described below. The awards will provide national and international recognition by NASW to individual achievement in two (2) categories:Category I: Lifetime achievement as a professional social worker in health and/or mental health practice. Professional social work practice includes direct or clinical social work, social work education, social work research or administration related to health or mental health problems or issues.

Category II: Outstanding achievement in developing, interpreting or applying health and mental health policy. This is intended to include achievement in the preparation, establishment or the institutionalization of health or mental health policy, This award may be given to any deserving individual or group including, but not limited to, social workers.

Time Frame

The Knee/Wittman Panel continues to the extent that there are funds available.

Members, Terms and Criteria

The President of the Association shall appoint the members annually. The Panel will include the Chair, who shall be a member of the NASW Board of Directors and serve for two years. In addition, there shall be three (3) members-at-large who are knowledgeable in the fields of health and mental health and serve staggered terms.

Specific Responsibilities

The panel screens and selects finalists and makes recommendations to the NASW Board of Directors.

Questions about the Panel?

Contact Kerri Criswell at

Knee/Wittman Health & Mental Health Achievement Awards

Legendary social workers Ruth Knee (1920-2008) and Milton Wittman (1915-1994) guided the development of social policy and standards. Their lifelong commitments to social values and the effective provision of services to those who are disadvantaged are reflected in their careers with the Public Health Service and in their leadership roles with professional social work, public health and mental health organizations.

Learn about the Knee/Wittman Health & Mental Health Achievement Award