Foundation Awards Fizdale Grant

— Lyn Stoesen, News Staff


The NASW Foundation is presenting the 2008 Ruth Fizdale Program grant to the NASW Iowa Chapter to support the chapter's research project focusing on recruitment and retention in the social work profession.

The Ruth Fizdale Program underwrites research projects that link practice and policy issues with relevant social issues in order to facilitate effective service delivery and supports chapters in conducting research targeted at specific emerging issues.

The program was created in 1987 to honor Ruth Fizdale's contributions to social work. It was founded by Helen K. Rehr and other friends of Fizdale to support studies related to people with social needs.

This year, the program provided the Iowa Chapter with a $3,000 research grant.

"We're extremely excited for this opportunity," said chapter Executive Director Kelli Soyer.

According to the chapter's application, its project, "Social Work Trends in Iowa," will address five objectives:

  • Develop a research tool to measure issues affecting recruitment/retention in the social work profession.
  • Market the research project to elicit a strong return rate among social workers, including NASW members and others.
  • Collect data that specifically addresses the needs of the social work profession in Iowa.
  • Analyze the data and distribute results among the Iowa elected legislative body.
  • Utilize the research findings to educate Iowa elected officials about issues facing the social work profession.

The project will also address the state's aging population and the need for a trained geriatrics workforce; the costs of higher education and the availability of financial assistance; comparable pay issues and the privatization of human services in the state.

The chapter plans to develop and distribute a survey instrument to gather data on these issues and will issue a data summary report and final report upon completion, which is estimated to be November 2008.

"The Fizdale grant is a valuable resource for improving service delivery," explained NASW Foundation Director Robert Carter Arnold. "The Iowa Chapter, through this grant, will be able to develop and conduct research that will improve outcomes for people in their state."

Award namesake Ruth Fizdale was best known for her 19 years as executive director of the Arthur Lehman Counseling Service, where she helped pioneer and develop a fee-for-service system in a for-profit agency. She was also known for her activity in professional organizations, including her service as a founding member of the NASW Competence Certification Board which oversees the Academy of Certified Social Workers. In addition, she was a nine-year member of the executive board of NASW's New York City Chapter. Fizdale died in 1994.