Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the Encyclopedia of Social Work, accessed online. (c) National Association of Social Workers and Oxford University Press USA, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the applicable license agreement governing use of the Encyclopedia of Social Work accessed online, an authorized individual user may print out a PDF of a single article for personal use, only (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

Subscriber: null; date: 17 January 2019

Anderson, Delwin M.

Abstract and Keywords

Delwin M. Anderson (1916–2007) was director of the Social Work Service in the Veteran's Administration from 1964 to 1974. In his work he laid stress on recognizing the social components of illness and physical injury.

Keywords: rehabilitation, social environment, disability, Social Work Service, physical injury, family ties, community life

Delwin M. (Del) Anderson was director of the Social Work Service, the largest program of social service in the United States at the time, in the Veteran's Administration from 1964 to 1974. He directed 2,600 social workers employed in 171 hospitals, 18 domiciliaries, and 206 outpatient clinics, the largest program of organized social service in the United States.

Anderson's work in the Veterans Administration focused on the importance of social work's commitment to treatment and rehabilitation in the context of the individual's medical and social environment. He laid stress on recognizing the social components of illness and physical injury, and upon planning with the person and utilizing the assets rather than focusing on the disability. Through his leadership, social services received representation within Veterans Administration policy-making groups, where attention was given to preserving the family ties of the veteran patient, and to providing the required resources and opportunities to advance the successful return to family and community life. Anderson also encouraged the appointment of social workers as consultants and administrators in other programs of the complex Veterans Administration.

Anderson received his master's in social work from the University of Minnesota in 1946 and started his career with the Veterans Administration in 1947 as a field social worker in Duluth, Minnesota. He worked his way through the positions of supervisor, chief social worker, and area chief before becoming the director of the Central office. Before his employment with the VA, he taught in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota and also worked as a program director in the Goodrich Social Settlement in Cleveland, Ohio.

Anderson served on the committees and boards of a number of social work organizations, including NASW, CSWE, the National Conference on Social Welfare, the American Hospitals Association, Society for Hospital Social Work Directors, and the National Council on Aging. He also published numerous articles including the section on “Veterans’ Service” for the 1971 Encyclopedia of Social Work and served on the editorial board from 1965 to 1971, and was chairman of the editorial committee for Proceedings of the Annual Forum of the National Conference on Social Welfare in 1972. The Veterans Administration honored Anderson by selecting him to attend several Executive Seminars organized by the Civil Service Commission and the Brookings Institution. He received an award from the University of Minnesota for outstanding achievement at the 5th annual meeting of the School of Social Work Alumni Association in 1969 and the Veterans Administration's Distinguished Service Award in 1974.

After his retirement, Anderson, who lived in Arlington, Virginia, served on the Board of Trustees for the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University and was active in community groups.