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Ohio Social Worker Dr. Patrice Palmer is the 2022 National Social Worker of the Year

Patrice Palmer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is pleased to name Ohio social worker Dr. Patrice Palmer as the recipient of the 2022 National Social Worker of the Year Award for her work in helping break the cycle of mass incarceration.

“Dr. Palmer is a true change agent for the incarcerated, their families and communities—particularly for those whom society ignores, stigmatizes, marginalizes or misunderstands," said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. "Her compassion, strength, and perseverance are noteworthy and her desire to empower the incarcerated to improve their circumstances is certainly worth honoring.”

The Social Worker of The Year Award honors a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) who typifies the best of the profession’s values and successes. In honoring the Social Worker of the Year, NASW shines a spotlight on  stellar achievements in the practice of social work.

Dr. Palmer is the co-founder and CEO of Chosen4Change, a non-profit organization that focuses on keeping people from becoming imprisoned or jailed by giving individuals and families the tools and resources necessary to navigate the criminal justice system—and empower them through personal development training.

Using the NASW Code of Ethics as her guide, Dr. Palmer thinks out-of-the-box and utilizes her personal experiences in her work. She has served in several capacities as a change agent—including re-entry social support specialist of the Franklin County Jail, developer and lead facilitator of the jail’s  successful Pathways Women Healthy Living program.She was also program director and founder of the Therapeutic Communities at Chillicothe’s Correctional Institute.
Working directly with those affected by the criminal justice system, Dr. Palmer is a national trainer for Peace Love Art workshops. She is also on the board of the Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition, the former president of Raising the Bar Prison Ministries, and a tireless advocate on a variety of social justice issues.

Dr. Palmer has also received numerous accolades for her work. These include induction into The Ohio State University College of Social Work 2019 Hall of Fame and Ohio’s Social Worker of the Year.

“Patrice is a woman of great character who has risen above her past struggles in her life and is fulfilling her God given potential,” said Senator Robert Jones Portman, R-Ohio, in endorsing her. “She is a shining example, a living embodiment that recovery is possible.”

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.