National Awards

NASW and NASW Foundation Awards

NASW award recipients

The NASW National Awards recognize leaders in the profession and in our communities who fully embody social work values and ethics. Our past award recipients have accomplished the extraordinary and we have been honored to recognize them.

We need your participation to keep the tradition moving forward. Please consider nominating a social worker or individual who exemplifies the best of the profession’s values for one of the following:

  • A professional social worker who has made significant contributions or developed model programs that have been replicated for Social Worker of the Year or Lifetime Achievement
  • A public citizen who has gone above and beyond in their community for Public Citizen of the Year
  • An elected official who has shown leadership in public policy issues important to the profession for Public Elected Official of the Year
  • A professional social worker who has made exemplary contributions in health and mental health practice for Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement
  • An individual or group that has made a significant impact on national mental health public policy, professional standards, or program models for Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement
  • An individual, group, or organization that has significantly advanced the public image of professional social work for the International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award

Nominate Someone!

Deadline Extended.  Nominations for the NASW National and NASW Foundation Awards are being accepted through November 8, 2017. 


Please contact us at or 202-336-8270.

2015 Award Recipients

Social Worker of the Year
John D. Cowart, LCSW, BCD

Lifetime Achievement Award
Susan W. Gray, PhD, EdD, MSW, MBA

Public Elected Official of the Year
Assembly Member Luis Alejo, JD, EdM

Public Citizen of the Year
Mildred Richard-Edwards

Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement
Stephen T. Baron, MSW

Knee/Wittman Lifetime Achievement
Joan Ditzion, LICSW, MSW

Knee/Wittman Outstanding Achievement
Mercedes Bern-Klug, PhD, MSW

International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award
Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW