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Phyllis Mitzen receives National Lifetime Achievement Award

NASW recognizes her contributions to elder care social work

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) announced Phyllis Mitzen is the recipient of its 2014 National Lifetime Achievement Award. Phyllis Mitzen has devoted over four decades to the social work profession and to improving the care of older Americans.

"Phyllis has made impressive gains in elder care advocacy," NASW Chief Executive Officer Angelo McClain, Ph.D., LICSW, said. "Illinois has been fortunate to have her expert guidance as the aging U.S. population presents tremendous challenges to individuals and communities. We will continue to see the fruits of her labor in years to come as a result of her advocacy for policy and systemic changes in elder care."

Phyllis Mitzen is known for her leading role in gerontology social work. She played a pivotal role in reforming long-term care in Illinois by helping craft Illinois long-term care reform legislation. As co-director of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform in Chicago, Mitzen continues to advance public policies that help those in need of accessible, affordable and quality long-term care. Mitzen has authored numerous studies and publications to help individuals and organizations transition the elderly to and from different situations.

"Phyllis is a leader in the field of aging, both here in Illinois and nationally. She has been a mentor to many, including myself," said Joel Rubin, executive director of the NASW Illinois Chapter. "I first met Phyllis as a young social work intern at the Council for Jewish Elderly (now CJE Senior Life) in 1981, and she has always served as a source of guidance and inspiration throughout my career. The social work community in Illinois is extremely proud of this recognition for Phyllis."

Mitzen continues to chair work groups on nursing home reform and stakeholder involvement as well as mentor social work graduate students at the University of Chicago.

The NASW National Lifetime Achievement Award is presented 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.

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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.