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Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey receives NASW Lifetime Achievement Award

Iris Carlton-LaNey

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) has announced University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill social work professor and author Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey is recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award for her decades of work in training social workers to identify and fight discrimination and institutionalized oppression.

“Dr. Carlton-LaNey has helped prepare generations of social workers on how to address deeply complicated social problems once viewed as intractable,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “Thanks to her pioneering research, insightful publications and inspiring classroom lessons, more and more social workers are equipped to resolve the troubling social problems that strain our society.”

NASW each year 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.

Dr. Carlton-LaNey is deserving of this award, particularly since her work has focused on a subject that is challenging to teach and one that she has not shied way from.

For more than 20 years, one of the primary courses Carlton-LaNey taught at UNC Chapel Hill is "Confronting Oppression and Institutionalized Discrimination." Carlton-LaNey is an unassuming, direct and thoughtful professor who relies more on sparking thoughtful classroom discussions than simply lecturing. She is credited with helping students recognize not only their own biases and but also how oppression, racism, institutionalized racism, microaggressions and privilege marginalize large swathes of our society.

Carlton-LaNey’s publications have helped carry her expertise well beyond the classroom.  Her catalog includes four published books, 34 book chapters and 41 articles. Her works include documenting the contributions of African American social work pioneers and advising social workers on how to preserve and strengthen rural communities.

Carlton-LaNey has also served on eight social work editorial boards, including the NASW Press Book Committee and the Press Publications Committee and more than 20 service boards, including four appointments and/or elections with the Council on Social Work Education. More recently she was the Governor’s appointee to the North Carolina Social Services Commission.

“We congratulate Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey on receiving the NASW Lifetime Achievement Award,” McClain said. “She has made an enormous, positive impact on our nation both directly and by passing on her knowledge to thousands of students who will help carry on her mission to make our nation a more just and equitable place.”

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.