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University at Albany Dean receives International Social Work Award

The NASW Foundation recognizes Katharine Briar-Lawson

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) has announced that Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson is the recipient of the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award for her life-long devotion to the social work profession and the clients who social workers serve.

“Katharine Briar-Lawson has served in academia and alongside government and community leaders to help educate people about child welfare and aging issues," NASWF Director Robert Carter Arnold. "We are proud of the work she has done and continues to do to advance the social work profession."

The NASWF International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is given to an individual, group, or organization that has significantly advanced the public image of professional social work.

As dean of the School of Social Welfare at the State University of New York University at Albany, Katharine Briar-Lawson has previously received the foundation’s highest honor: the Citizen Laureate Award. This award is given to outstanding leaders in business and industry, government and academics who enrich the community in distinct ways.

She is co-principal investigator of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute, which the University at Albany School of Social Welfare leads. She is the former president of the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work (NADD).

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The purpose of the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is to increase public awareness and recognition of the value of professional social work. This monetary prize is made possible from an endowment fund established by a generous contribution in 1996 from Mrs. Rhoda Sarnat, LCSW and her spouse, Bernard Sarnat, MD.

Social workers are skilled professionals who have gone through extensive training to receive a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate in social work. Social workers are licensed by the state after receiving their degree. They help improve the quality of life for families, veterans, the elderly, minorities and people living with mental illnesses. There are more than 600,000 social workers in the United States and it is one of the fastest-growing professions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information about the NASW Foundation, please visit or e-mail

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.

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.