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Susan Gray receives NASW National Lifetime Achievement Award

Florida social work leader, mentor, author advocated for people living with a mental illness

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has announced social work professor and author Susan Gray as recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award for her decades of work improving the treatment of people living with mental illness and educating future generations of social workers.

“Dr. Gray has worked relentlessly to ensure people who experience a mental illness have the help they need to build on their strengths and thrive,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, Ph.D., LICSW. “Gray has distinguished herself within the social work profession by serving in numerous leadership roles, educating and mentoring countless other social workers, and authoring books and other publications that have contributed greatly to advances in social work knowledge.”

Each year, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) selects a social worker for this national award to celebrate a lifetime of achievement. In honoring the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, NASW recognizes the best social work values and accomplishments demonstrated in the social worker’s lifetime career.

Gray, Ph.D., MBA, EdD, MSW, is Professor Emerita at the Barry University School of Social Work in Miami Shores, Fla. She is the author of “Psychopathology: A Competency-based Treatment Model for Social Workers,” Psychopathology: A Competency-based Assessment Model for Social Workers,” “Competency-based Assessment in Mental Health: Cases and Practical Applications” and more than 30 other publications.

Some of her publications have helped social workers focus more on the abilities, talents and resources of people living with mental illness instead of on their problems and deficits, resulting in improved treatment outcomes. She is also a noted “storyteller” who continues to seek opportunities to give voice to the struggles of those living with mental illness.

Gray has served in numerous public service roles, including introducing mandatory training in ethics for social workers, mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists while serving on Florida’s licensure board and setting up a student internship program through the Florida Keys Area Health Education Committee to provide outreach to people who are homeless in Key West.

She has also taken on leadership positions at NASW, The Council on Social Work Education, the Association of Social Work Boards and at Barry University, where she chaired the Faculty Senate.

“Dr. Gray’s work has enriched the entire social work profession and she has helped countless clients who have received services from her or from the many social workers she has trained, mentored or informed through her publications,” McClain said.

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 130,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.