Kanuha Receives NASW Presidential Award
“Her body of research has informed, shaped and advanced the social work
By Matthew Malamud, News Staff
NASW President James J. Kelly presented Valli Kalei Kanuha
with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Social Work Research at a Feb. 19
ceremony in Honolulu.
Declaring her among the “brightest and best” social workers,
Kelly said Kanuha received the award because her body of research has informed,
shaped and advanced the social work profession. In addition, “her work has
influenced policy, practice and services provided to the diverse constituencies
with whom she has worked over her career,” Kelly said.
Kanuha, an associate professor of sociology at the University
of Hawaii Manoa, said she is an “activist-researcher,” with a primary mission
to conduct research rooted in community needs and improve the lives of some of
society’s most vulnerable communities — people of color, survivors of gender violence,
lesbians and transgender people of color and indigenous nations.
“This is what I have dedicated my life’s work to every single
day, and being a social worker and a researcher have only enhanced my ability
to do so,” Kanuha told the NASW News.
She has served as principal investigator for numerous state
and federal grant-funded projects, including a six-year
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-funded project to develop,
implement and evaluate a domestic abuse intervention program using Native Hawaiian
cultural practices and traditions.
In 2002, Kanuha was awarded the W.E.B. DuBois Research
Fellowship from the National Institute of Justice. The fellowship allowed
Kanuha to expand her research on the use of indigenous methods to address
family and intimate violence in pre- and post-contact Native Hawaiian and other
Currently, as a Harry Frank Guggenheim Research Fellow, Kanuha
is completing a study of violence against women of color and other
minority-status women in the U.S. since 1975.
In addition to the presidential award, Kanuha was the NASW
Hawaii Chapter’s 2005 Social Worker of the Year in Professional Education and
Training. She’s also received the Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award
from the University of Hawaii.
“President Kelly honors all of the communities I work with by
this award,” Kanuha added.
From May 2010 NASW News. © 2010 National
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