International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award

The International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is given to an individual, group, or organization that has significantly advanced the public image of professional social work. This monetary prize is made possible from an endowment fund established by a generous contribution in 1996 from Rhoda Sarnat, LCSW and her spouse, Bernard Sarnat, MD.

Rhoda G. Sarnat is a retired clinical social worker, former faculty member at the University of Southern California Graduate School of Social Work, and a member of NASW who is committed to improving the public perception of professional social work.

The purpose of the Sarnat Award is to increase public awareness and recognition of the value of professional social work. The recipient is awarded a cash prize of $3,000.


The International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award recognizes significant contributions to the public image of professional social work by a living individual, a group, or an organization. This award includes, but is not limited to, social workers or social work agencies. One $3,000 cash prize will be awarded.

Nomination Requirements

The following must be submitted online:

  1. Completed nomination form.
  2. One page summary with clear, concise examples of activities and accomplishments that describe nominee's contributions to a positive image of professional social work, to include: five year history of actions, national or international in scope, evidence to support contribution(s), significant impact on the profession of social work.
  3. Professional summary: curriculum vitae or resume for individuals, profile of organization to include mission, scope, structure, size and legal status.
  4. Three (3) letters of confirmation of nominee's contributions.

An award panel will review applications and select the award recipient.

Nominations are considered for two consecutive years. Members of the NASW national and chapter board of directors with unexpired terms and all national and chapter staff, while employed by NASW, are ineligible.

Nomination Deadline Extended 

Online Recognition Award nominations are accepted biennially.  Nominations  will be accepted October 6 through December 2, 2021 for the 2022 NASW and NASW Foundation Recognition Awards.


Please contact us at or 202-336-8270.

To learn more about the NASW Foundation Awards, please visit the Foundation's website

2022 Distinguished Awardees

  • Emerging Social Work Leader
    Monique Bingham, MSW
  • Public Citizen of the Year
    Dan Broyles, LMFT
  • Social Worker of the Year
    Patrice A. Palmer, DD, CDKA, MSW, LSW
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
    Nancy D. Miller, LMSW
  • Public Elected Official of the Year
    The Late Honorable Congressman John Lewis
  • Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement
    Denise Juliano-Bult, MSW
  • Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement
    The Honorable Deputy Secretary Andrea Palm, MSW
  • International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award
    Silas W. Kelly, LMSW