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Zander Keig receives NASW Social Worker of the Year Award

Zander Keig

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has announced social worker Zander Keig has been awarded Social Worker of the Year for his unparalleled work in promoting the dignity and health of people who are transgender, living with a mental illness, or serving in our nation’s military.

“Zander Keig’s large body of work personifies the spirit and mission of the social work profession, the love of service to others, and the heart for social justice,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, Ph.D., LICSW. “He is a compassionate man who is also a strong advocate, especially for groups of people our society ignores, misunderstands or stigmatizes.”

The NASW Social Worker of the Year Award honors a member of the association who has demonstrated the best of the profession’s values and achievements through specific accomplishments. The award also highlights superb accomplishments in the practice of social work.

Keig, MSW, LCSW, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, worked as a homeless outreach social worker and HUD-VASH senior social worker for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the Veterans Healthcare Administration 2012-2016.

He was also the clinical social work case manager for the Navy Medicine West Transgender Care Team at Naval Medical Center San Diego 2016-2019. In that role, Keig developed best practices for patient intake and improved the orientation process for the 230 Sailors, Marines and Coasties navigating a Command Approved gender transition during his tenure.

Keig currently works at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone in Jacksonville, FL where he provides individual, couple and family therapy for Veterans and their family members.

Keig is well known for his expertise in helping transgender veterans who are often marginalized find the services they desperately need, whether it be safe housing, therapy or simply encouragement. He has also helped uplift new members of the social work profession and other people who are transgender through mentorship.

Keig has mentored undergraduate and graduate social work candidates since 2013 and people who are transgender for 14 years. And his published works, including articles and contributions to publications, have provided data that is used in transgender veteran research.

Besides working with individuals, Keig has also tried to improve the way the military and our larger society treat people who are transgender through his advocacy work with the Transgender American Veterans Association (TAVA), as a board member since 2015 and recently as their newly elected Vice President, as well as an appointed member of the NASW National Committee for LGBT Issues since 2013 (Chair 2017-2019) and an appointed member of the Diversity Committee of the NASW California Chapter from 2013-17.

Keig was a long-time California resident but now lives in Florida with his wife.

‘We are so thrilled that Zander is the national social worker of the year," said Jolene Hui, MSW, LCSW, membership director for the NASW California Chapter. "He has done such amazing work across the country and has built a career on helping people in so many different areas. Not only does he do great work, he is a kind, generous, person."

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers. 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.