NASW Foundation Honors Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter

Jack HansanJack Hansan received the Rhoda G. Sarnat Award

Recipients of the 2009-2010 NASW Foundation Awards include a social welfare leader, a hospice advocate, a mental health researcher and an NASW chapter project that will examine hospital social work services.

The recipient of the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is NASW Social Work Pioneer® John (Jack) E. Hansan. His more than 50 years of experience include leading two national professional social work organizations as well as being a volunteer, author, historian and entrepreneur. Hansan was interim executive director of NASW in the early 1980s. Prior to that role, he served as executive director of the National Conference on Social Welfare.

Hansan's career quickly progressed after he received an MSW from the Pennsylvania School of Social Work. He was eventually appointed director of the Ohio Department of Public Welfare and elected chairman of the Ohio Valley NASW Chapter.

In 1980, Hansan received a Ph.D. from Brandeis University's Florence Heller School of Advanced Social Welfare Policy and Planning. It marked the beginning of his vocation in social policy issues, becoming a consultant, a project director and a researcher, said Kenneth Carpenter, also a NASW Social Work Pioneerw, in his nomination material.

Carpenter noted that Hansan has also authored numerous publications and reports and was editor of a book on special welfare policy titled "The National Government and Social Welfare: What Should Be the Federal Role?"

Hansan has ventured into several entrepreneurial projects that include publishing, personal management and a Web site devoted to social welfare history.

In his nomination letter, NASW Social Work Pioneerw Robert Cohen noted that Hansan has always been an energetic, imaginative and creative social worker, interacting with a broad spectrum of groups and organizations beyond social work.

The award is named after NASW Social Work Pioneer® Rhoda Sarnat, who established the honor in the early 1990s to improve the public's perception of social work.

Samira BeckwithSamira Beckwith was given a lifetime achievement award.

Being honored with the Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award is NASW Social Work Pioneer® Samira K. Beckwith, president and CEO of Hope and Hospice and Community Services in Florida.

She is recognized nationally for her leadership role in efforts to advance the care for terminally ill people, said J. Donald Schumacher, president and CEO of National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Beckwith has been a leader throughout the advancement of the movement, he said. She has served as the president and CEO at the provider level as well as state president of two state organizations, and on the board of directors of the NHPCO.

Beckwith's service also includes membership on the National Hospice Foundation Board of Trustees, the board of directors of the Alliance for Care at the End of Life and the National Association of Hospice and Palliative Care Professionals.

In her nomination letter, NASW Social Work Pioneer® Bernice Catherine Harper said Beckwith brings a unique commitment to building new programs. She has been the driving force behind the construction of three hospice houses in Florida.

What started as an agency serving a handful of clients in the Fort Myers, Fla., Hope Hospice now cares for more than 2,200 hospice patients and their families each day through a variety of services. Beckwith was instrumental in developing other programs:

  • Hope Life Care, which provides services to those who do not have a life-threatening illness but do need support in their daily lives.
  • Hope Connections provides services to those who are elderly in mainly rural areas.
  • Pathways of Hope, a bereavement counseling program that provides support groups, psychotherapy, crisis management and community education.

Hope Child and Teen Care encompasses the services of Hope Hospice, Pathways of Hope and Partners in Care for Together for Kids, a state-sponsored program that partners health care organizations to provide medical, emotional and spiritual support for children and their families.

Beckwith's outstanding achievements have led Hope Hospice to receive numerous national awards for quality services and innovations, Harper said.

"She has played a significant role as a change agent in hospice care and other areas in the health care arena in Florida as well as nationally and internationally," Harper added.

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., said in the nomination letter that despite Beckwith's high-level roles and accomplishments, her real interest is in implementing the best ways to care for each individual in need.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a professional social worker who has made exemplary contributions in health and mental health practice.

Ronald ManderscheidThe recipient of the Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award is Ronald Manderscheid, director of the Mental Health and Substance Use Program at Constella Group, LLC, and adjunct professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Manderscheid's career spans public, private and academic sectors.

He has served in numerous leadership roles at the National Institute of Mental Health and at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. He served for several years on the faculty at the University of Maryland where he taught statistics, sociology and social organization.

He led the effort to involve consumers with substance abuse and/or mental health issues in federal workgroups and committees.

Robert Glover, executive director of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, said he has worked with Manderscheid for more than 30 years. He noted that while at SAMHSA, Manderscheid provided national leadership for data collection and analysis. He was innovative in assisting states in their development of their information systems as well.

Many of Manderscheid's studies and evaluations have highlighted trends and forecasted the direction in both the public and private psychiatric systems, Glover said.

Manderscheid led the field throughout his career, said David Shern, president and CEO of Mental Health America. His mentoring of young investigators and policy leaders helped formulate and support evidence-formed policy and practice and helped transform mental health services with the context of overall health reform, Shern said.

The Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes an individual or group that has had a significant impact on national health and/or mental health public policy, professional standards, or exemplary program models. The award includes but is not limited to social workers.

Carol TrustThe NASW Massachusetts Chapter has been selected to receive the Ruth Fizdale Chapter Research Grant for its project to document the value of social work interventions in hospital settings. The Ruth Fizdale grant underwrites research projects that link practice and policy issues with relevant social issues, with the goal of facilitating effective service delivery. The grant provides opportunities for NASW chapters to conduct pilot research projects targeted to specific emerging issues.

Chapter Executive Director Carol Trust (photo right) said the grant will be used to document the contributions social workers make in a hospital setting. The significance of the findings generated from the project can positively affect the entire profession in terms of documenting the value of social work services in hospital settings, Trust said.

The project includes a support team of directors of social work departments in the greater Boston area, Massachusetts teaching hospitals and researcher and professor James Drisko from the Smith College School for Social Work.