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James Zabora Receives the Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award

The NASW Foundation Award Honors Those Who Have Changed Health Policy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is pleased to name James Zabora, Sc.D., as the recipient of the Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award.

The Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes an individual or group that has had a significant impact on national health and/or mental health public policy, professional standards, or exemplary program models.  The contribution may be in the development, interpretation, implementation, institutionalization, or expansion of health or mental health policy or legislation.  Such achievement should be reflected in positive improvements in the social work profession and in the services provided to clients (individuals, families, communities, or institutions).  This award includes but is not limited to social workers.

Dr. Zabora is the Dean of National Catholic School of Social Service at the Catholic University of America. (As Dean he has fostered a research culture. In the last four years in collaboration with faculty, he has implemented three new centers and redesigned three others. Recently he and a colleague received funding from the Susan B. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research in collaboration with Nueva Vida to study the program's effectiveness in providing services to Latinas with cancer. Dr. Zabora also helped to develop a coalition with the Child and Family Services, Administration, the School, Howard University, and the University of D.C. to secure funding under Title IV-E for training graduate students for child welfare.

Prior to becoming dean at Catholic he had a 20-year career in oncology social work at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During much of this time, he was head of the Department of Patient and Family Services. As an administrator, he served as one of the five associate directors in the Comprehensive Cancer Center with a special focus on community programs and research.

Along with Mr. Matthew Loscalzo, Dr. Zabora developed what was considered to be the best psychosocial services for cancer patients and their families in the United States. In addition, he was the administrator of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program for low-income women living in Baltimore City. In this role, he was a lead author of the Baltimore City Cancer Plan for Johns Hopkins under the Cigarette Restitution Fund for the State of Maryland. As a result of the success of these initiatives, he was appointed co-director of the Baltimore City Cancer Plan and Co-Director for Community Outreach and Education of the Urban Environmental Health Center in the School of Public Health.

Dr. Zabora has maintained a research consultant position at the Life with Cancer Program in Fairfax, VA, and his research continues to focus on cancer prevention and control, psychosocial screening, problem-solving education, and quality of life among cancer patients and their families.

Dr. Zabora is the editor of the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, and the author of more than 70 papers and book chapters on cancer prevention, psychosocial screening and community program development, quality of life, and problem-solving education. His research has won a number of awards at Johns Hopkins, and in 2002 his research team received the Annual Quality of Life Research Award from the National Office of the American Cancer Society.

“Through his integration of practice, research, publication and lectures/presentations, Dr. Zabora is an acknowledged leader and expert in psychosocial oncology care,” says Betsy Vourlekis, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus with the University of Maryland School of Social Work.  “He consistently combined clinical interventions with conceptual and empirical work so that innovations and approaches pioneered at Johns Hopkins became widely known in the field. His vision for clinical practice always embraced the family, but went beyond that to include community.”

NASW Foundation congratulates Dr. Zabora on his distinguished career.

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The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) is a charitable organization created to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through the advancement of social work practice.