Social workers who have blazed trails, challenged concepts and grown to become great mentors are among the latest inductees to the NASW Social Work Pioneers® program.
Supported by the NASW Foundation, the Pioneers represent role models for future generations of social workers striving to improve society.
The newest inductees are:
Iris Carlton-La Ney
Carlton-La Ney is a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has taught social work for 36 years at three North Carolina universities.
Her career has focused on issues involving African-Americans and she has contributed to the historical influence of African-American communities on the social work profession.
Carlton-La Ney has written multiple book chapters and articles on African-American aging, social work in the American south, African-American breast cancer survivors, and training African-American social workers.
One of her seminal publications, “African American Social Work Pioneers’ Response to Need,” published in “Social Work” in 1998, has been required reading in accredited baccalaureate social work programs across the country.
Carlton-La Ney has received the Bell Ringer Image Award from Bennett College and the Feminist Scholar Honoree Award from the Women’s Council of the Council on Social Work Education.
The University of Maryland-Baltimore School of Social Work identified her as one of America’s Most Influential Social Workers and in 2012 selected her as one of the school’s 50 Heroes for Justice.
Chase’s leadership in governmental, nonprofit, private sector and university-based efforts has served as a role model for other social workers.
The assistant professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Department of Human Services, has taken some of the toughest jobs in human services, and has created and developed new human services.
She is a well-known speaker on topics related to the Indian Child Welfare Act. Her governmental roles span child welfare, juvenile justice, children’s mental health addictions, prisons, and other sectors.
She has served in top leadership roles and has proven herself to be a true social worker in her support of those who are disenfranchised and marginalized. She has been a nationally recognized leader building more effective tribal state agreements and has helped states increase their collaborative child welfare practices with tribes. In Alaska, she created the first comprehensive report on the state mental health system.
At NASW, she has served as president of the NASW Alaska Chapter and has been a member of the Delegate Assembly and national board of directors, among other NASW positions.
Chase is a former director on the NASW Assurance Services board, serves on the board of the newly formed Assurance Services RRG, and is currently chairwoman of the NASW Chapter/National Modernization Task Force. She also serves as chairwoman of the Gosnell Scholarship Committee.
Chase received the 2010 Shining Star award, presented by the National Association of Black Elected Officials.
Sister Ann Patrick Conrad
Conrad recently retired as an associate professor at the National Catholic School of Social Service at The Catholic University of America. She continues to be active as a fellow at the CUA Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies and in other campus activities. She has served in many roles at the school, including dean, chairwoman of the Master of Social Work Program, director of admissions and assistant to the director of field instruction.
Conrad aided disaster victims while in high school and later used her experience from that time to provide social services to families through Catholic Charities during disaster-relief efforts.
As an educator, Conrad became one of the first and leading social workers to introduce ethics into the curriculum and developed a course on Theories of Social Justice.
Conrad has also been an active participant in NASW and has frequently been invited as a presenter on professional ethics, social service outreach, social justice and human rights.
Duehn is professor emeritus with the School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Arlington.
His contributions in journals and with social work researchers in the field of sexuality marked an important transition for disseminating new information for students and seasoned professionals.
His investigation into child sexual abuse, child welfare investigation, and treatment was new and unexplored. His work from the past 30 years has served as an example of how one person can create a vision and passion for changing the field and community with respect to understanding child sexual abuse.
Duehn was a research associate at the Masters and Johnson Institute and he was co-author of “Beyond Sexual Abuse:The Healing Power of Adoptive Families,” which is an outgrowth of an ongoing educational program of the Three Rivers Adoption Council in Pittsburgh, Pa. This project is designed to develop educational materials to assist adoptive families in parenting the sexually abused child.
Most recently, Duehn developed a child abuse-prevention program for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools, which has been implemented worldwide.
In 1969, he was first awarded with a “career teaching award” with NIMH and he has been the recipient of the UTA School of Social Work Fernando Torgerson award for teaching excellence four times.
Epperson, who died in 2011, was a dean emeritus and professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work.
He is remembered for a career devoted to social work values, education, racial equality, and social and civic improvement, but also as a man who forged social work connections both nationally and internationally.
Epperson was the only African-American dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and the longest-serving dean of social work in the country at 29 years. Under Epperson’s leadership, the school’s enrollment more than tripled.
His work in Pittsburgh’s community development organizations, foundations, and racial-equality efforts was complemented by his more than 50 years of working with the YMCA at the local, national and international levels and increasing the diversity and advocacy within the organization.
For 20 years he served on the international committee of the YMCA as chairman of its Office for Africa and developing exchange programs with YMCAs in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia.
He worked to improve racial relations and fight racial disparities in employment, housing and education and designed and ran Pittsburgh’s poverty program. Epperson was a member of the board of directors for both the Council on Social Work Education and the National Association of Deans and Directors.
Raheim is dean and professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work and the first African-American to be appointed as dean.
She has provided diversity and cultural-competence training and consultation to schools, universities, human service organizations and businesses throughout the U.S. and on four continents.
Her national leadership positions include serving as a fellow in the New York Academy of Medicine Leadership in Aging Academy.
In 2013, she was one of 150 leading social work educators from across the country who attended a White House briefing on the expanding role of social work in today’s changing health care environment, focusing on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
When Raheim was the director of the School of Social Work at the University of Iowa, she was responsible for increasing the number of faculty of color. The Cultural Competence Initiative, which she led, enhanced diversity within the university. The initiative received the 2002 Catalyst Award, given for innovative programs, policies and activities that enhance diversity within the university.
In 2011 and 2013, the NAACP named her one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut.”
Sheridan is a nationally recognized scholar of religion, spirituality and social work and an associate tenured professor at the National School of Social Service at Catholic University. As director of Catholic University’s Center for Spirituality and Social work, she focuses on coordinating spirituality and social work.
In past years, she has taught multiple courses at Catholic University, the University of Windsor and Virginia Commonwealth University, focusing on research, spirituality and social work. Sheridan is currently an educational consultant and trainer for the National Institute of Health on social justice issues in medicine.
With an interest in issues of injustice within the correctional system, Sheridan has worked in maximum-security prisons as a group facilitator, focusing on the children of incarcerated parents. She continues to provide leadership in relating religion and spirituality in social work practice.
She was a founding member of the CSWE Religion and Spirituality Clearing House where she is committed to promoting social workers’ knowledge, values and skills for ethical and effective practice that takes into account the diverse religions and spiritual perspectives among clients and communities.
Sheridan’s efforts have been noted to move the profession into areas that have the potential to affect client progress and arrays of coping skills.