Spotlight (June 2012)

Recipients of the 2011 NASW Foundation Awards were recently announced.

Peter B. VaughanPeter B. Vaughan, dean at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service in New York City was selected to receive the Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award.

Patricia Brownell, associate professor at Fordham University, stated in her support letter that in addition to being an educator, author, speaker and skilled clinician, Vaughan has continued his pioneering work by being an active researcher.

“He has served as principal investigator and co-principal investigator on a variety of projects, including those for the Philadelphia Naval Base, the West Philadelphia Collaborative Program for Child Health, and the Kellogg Foundation,” she said.

In keeping with his dedication to working for equality for communities of color, Vaughan’s recent research is concerned with enhancing health, social health and life chances of African-American boys, Brownell explained.

In addition to his membership in NASW, Vaughan belongs to a wide variety of associations and boards. He has served on the Commission on Conferences and Faculty Development for the Council on Social Work Education, and was the commissioner of the Commission on Accreditation for the CSWE and the Social Work Leadership Academy of Aging. He has served on the advisory committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs and was manager of the board of managers for the Philadelphia Foundation. Vaughan is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Teaching in Social Work, the Academy of Certified Social Workers and the National Association of Black Social Workers.

“His great respect and care for the profession are evidenced by the fact that he has and continues to dedicate his career to educating and empowering the social workers of tomorrow, ensuring that the populations served continue to receive the greatest quality of care,” Brownell said.

Vaughan also received support letters from Julia Watkins, former executive director of the Council on Social Work Education; and Patricia Volland, director of the Social Work Leadership Institute and senior vice president for administration and finance at the New York Academy of Medicine.

Peter DelanyRear Adm. Peter Delany, director of the Office of Applied Studies in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, was selected to receive the Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award.

Delany oversees the collection, analysis and dissemination of critical public behavioral health data and serves as the lead officer in SAMHSA’s work to expand the use and application of behavioral data in the health care reform effort.

Katherine Briar-Lawson, dean and professor at the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany, State University of New York, submitted a support letter on behalf of Delany. She noted that the director has made an historic and transformational impact in the field of social work.

“His steadfast work at capacity building to advance social work research and knowledge for practice is well documented,” she stated. “He has traveled tirelessly all over the country inspiring deans, directors, faculty and doctoral students to increase the right and relevance of their research.”

Delany has mentored many social work students, helped a number of faculty members receive National Institutes of Health funding and has changed the landscape of social work as research infrastructure and capacity building have become an ongoing focus, Briar-Lawson added.

Support letters for Delany also came from Richard A. Millstein, director of research and faculty

development, and associate director of the Center on Global Aging at National Catholic School of Social Service, The Catholic University of America; and Joseph J. Shields, associate professor and director of The Center for the Promotion of Health and Mental Health, The National Catholic School of Social Service, The Catholic University of America.

Marilyn L. FlynnMarilyn L. Flynn, dean of the University of Southern California School of Social Work, was selected to receive the Rhoda G. Sarnat Award.

Elizabeth Garrett, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at USC, submitted a support letter for Flynn’s nomination.

She noted that Flynn’s efforts at USC since she started as dean in 1997 have increased the recognition of the value of social work both nationally and internationally. “She has experimented with new applications, collaborations and subfields within social work practice,” Garrett said. One example is creating the USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families.

As dean, Flynn has enhanced the stature of social work in academia through her research-based approach, Garrett noted. “She has built a faculty that conducts both clinical and intervention studies across a broad range of topics, including physical health, mental health, aging and child maltreatment,” she said.

Flynn launched a Web-based platform, the Virtual Academic Center, through which students across the country can take courses in the field and earn an MSW. She pioneered the use of virtual reality and avatars as methods to teach clinical social work skills as well.

In addition, Flynn has supported collaborations between her school and international institutions, which help social workers meet the needs of an increasingly interconnected world, Garrett said.

Flynn also received support letters from Jack M. Richman, dean and professor at the School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and R. Paul Maiden, vice dean and professor at the School of Social Work at USC.

The Foundation Award winners are scheduled to be honored at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 7.