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The National Association of Social Workers Foundation Announces the 2009 Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Washington, D.C.– The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is proud to recognize Dr. Ronald W. Manderscheid, Ph.D., a mental health educator, program administrator and policy leader, with the 2009 Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health and Mental Health Policy.

Dr. Manderscheid's career spans the public, private, and academic sectors. He has served in numerous leadership roles at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)--both components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). He served for several years on the faculty of the University of Maryland where he taught statistics, sociology, and social organization. He currently is the Director of Mental Health and Substance Use Programs at Constella Group, LLC, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

While at NIMH, Dr. Manderscheid served as a researcher in the Biopsychosocial Research Program, where he collaborated with Dr. Julius Axelrod, a prominent Nobel Laureate in brain chemistry. He served as chief of evaluation research and as a founding chief of the mental health services grant and intramural research program. At SAMHSA, Dr. Manderscheid led the national mental health statistics and informatics programs as well as efforts to integrate mental health and substance use care services with primary care and to develop a national training agenda for the mental health field. He also served on the Clinton Health Care Reform Taskforce, and as a Senior Policy Advisor on Health Care Reform in the Office of the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health.

Dr. Manderscheid's life-long interests in mental health encompass policy, research, and services. He is known both nationally and internationally throughout the mental health field as a leader who works with all groups to advance mental health research, care, and the well-being of mental health consumers in the community.  He is particularly noted for his work with the consumer and family communities and for introducing consumer participation in federal workgroups and consumer assessments of mental health care.  Such assessments are now commonplace in the field. 

For 25 years, Dr. Manderscheid led the National Reporting Program on Mental Health Statistics and the Mental Health Statistics Improvement Program.   He was an early supporter of consumer satisfaction surveys, electronic records and informatics.  He led the mental health statistics improvement program, working with various organizations in the field. 

Dr. Manderscheid has received many awards for his professional work including multiple distinguished service awards from the Secretaries of HHS and the Administrators of SAMHSA. He has also received lifetime achievement awards from the American College of Mental Health Administration, NASMHPD, and NCCBH, as well as public service awards from the Mental Health Section of the American Public Health Association; the Federal Executive Institute Alumni Association; his undergraduate institution, Loras College; and the American Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation, among others. Dr. Manderscheid is a Life Fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences and the International Academy of Art and Science.
Today, Dr. Manderscheid continues to be an advocate for mental health and substance use care consumers and is leading efforts to reform mental health and substance use care benefits in Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance.

About 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.

It is with great honor that the NASW Foundation recognizes Ronald Manderscheid with the Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement Award.

For more information about the award, or to interview Dr. Manderscheid, please contact the NASW Communications Department at (202) 336-8212 or

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 132,000 members. 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.