Public Elected Official of the Year Award

The NASW Public Elected Official of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding service and contributions of an elected official. Special consideration is given to social workers elected to public office.

Elected officials make decisions about a broad range of issues that, when enacted into law, represent the collective values of our society. Of particular interest to the social work profession are policies that affect social justice, health care, education, civil and human rights, and social work practice. NASW created this award in recognition of the many responsibilities and challenges of public service.


The award recipient must:

  • Be an elected official serving, at the time of nomination, in public office at the local, state, or national level
  • Make a significant contribution to public service while in office
  • Demonstrate leadership in advancing public policy in the area of vulnerable populations, civil and human rights, or social welfare
  • Demonstrate leadership on behalf of the protection and advancement of social work practice

Nomination Procedure

Chapters and individuals may nominate an elected official who meets the above criteria by submitting the following:

  1. Completed official awards nomination form
  2. A summary that describes:
    • What the nominee has accomplished
    • What risks the nominee took to achieve results
    • Who the beneficiaries were
  3. Curriculum vita
  4. Three (3) endorsements

To ensure the nominee’s eligibility, please adhere to the nomination guidelines. Use clear, concise, descriptive examples of activities and accomplishments.The National Awards Committee selects and makes recommendations to the NASW Board of Directors, which approves the award recipient.


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