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California Social Worker Monique Bingham is 2022 recipient of Emerging Social Work Leader Award

Monique Bingham

WASHINGTON, D.C. -  The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is pleased to announce California social worker Monique Bingham, MSW, has been awarded the Emerging Social Work Leader Award for her remarkable accomplishments as a mental and behavioral health therapist, a strong relational organizer, and a documentary film producer. She works as a mental health therapist at the Anti Recidivism Coalition (ARC), which works to end mass incarceration in California.

“For someone so new to the profession of social work, Ms. Bingham has already done remarkable accomplishments,” said NASW CEO Angelo McClain, PhD, LICSW. “Her work with ARC in the field of reducing anti recidivism, helping to develop a Books Behind Bars program, and producing a documentary about formerly incarcerated social workers shows she truly values principles of the social work profession and is working hard to promote change from within.”

The Emerging Social Work Leader Award honors a member of NASW who has been in practice for five years or less and has demonstrated outstanding contributions as a leader at the beginning of their career.

A USC grad, Bingham works as a mental health therapist, providing individual therapy and co-facilitating adult groups under the supervision of a licensed clinical social worker. She helps clients in prison change their behaviors so they don’t re-offend, a field she began in college.

“During her time as an MSW student, Ms. Bingham continually stood out among her peers,” says Susan Hess, LCSW-IL Clinical Associate Professor at USC’s Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. “She has held the appointed positions as co-Chair and chair of Unchained Scholars, a student interest group at USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Unchained Scholars is a group of formerly incarcerated MSW, DSW and Ph.D. students working with ally members to dismantle the barriers faced by people impacted by the criminal punishment system. Unchained Scholars is the only caucus for students who were formerly incarcerated in any school of social work in the country.”

It is also the title of the documentary Bingham produced. The film, “Unchained Scholars,” tells students’ stories—from adverse childhood experiences to prison to USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. 

Ms. Bingham’s own experience led her down this path. Her father was incarcerated when she was a child and released when she was an adult. Her lived experience inspired her to provide support individuals, families and communities impacted by the criminal justice system.

“Given her hard work and dedication to helping others,” says Dr. McClain. “It is obvious that Ms. Bingham has an incredibly bright future ahead of her. We are honored to give her this award.” 

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.