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Hospital social worker receives National Lifetime Achievement Award

NASW Foundation recognizes Harold Lipton’s contributions

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) today announced Harold Lipton is recipient of its 2014 Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership role in hospital social work in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Ohio and California.

"Building communities is at the heart of Mr. Lipton’s social work legacy," said NASWF director, Robert Carter Arnold. "From the beginning of his career, working with adolescents and street gangs in Chicago and New York, Mr. Lipton has worked from a strengths-based perspective, recognizing the potential in individuals. As a leader for decades in hospital social services, he has left a large footprint. We salute Mr. Lipton for being the exemplary man he is."

The Knee-Wittman Lifetime Achievement award is presented to a professional social worker who has made exceptional contributions to health and mental health practice.

Harold Lipton has been a social work leader for more than 50 years. He worked first at Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Akron, Ohio and then the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He led negotiations for higher Medicaid payments for families with children with psychiatric disorders. In Oakland, California, Lipton served as director of social services at Children’s Hospital Oakland.

Lipton established the first Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for the hospital and negotiated a new contract with the State of California for the hospital’s abused toddlers’ program. He was also director of family services and assistant administrator of the Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, D.C. In Maryland, he negotiated with state Medicaid officials to rescind Medicaid cuts for children. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Lipton provided mental health services for families of firefighters in New York City.

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The NASWF Knee/Wittman award was established to honor social work leaders Ruth Knee and Milton Wittman. The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a professional social worker who has made outstanding contributions in direct or clinical social work, social work education, and social work research and administration related to health or mental health problems, issues or programs.

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. Social work is one of the fastest growing professions in the country, with more than 650,000 licensed social workers in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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

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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.

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.