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Article

Linda Beebe

Ruth Fizdale (1908–1994) was a caseworker and administrator in health care. She was a pioneer in professionalizing social work working with many organizations such as NASW. For 19 years, she was executive director of the Arthur Lehman Counseling Service (ALCS).

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Maryann Syers

Abraham Flexner (1866–1959) was a teacher and educational reformer. He challenged the professional status of the field of social work, concluding that it did not qualify as a profession as it lacked individual responsibility and educationally communicable techniques.

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Sara Harmon

Homer Folks (1867–1967) was a social work pioneer, recognizing illness as a major cause of poverty. His public service activities included the care of dependent children, mental hygiene, tuberculosis control, public assistance programs, social research, and corrections and parole.

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Maryann Syers

Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933) was a vocational counsellor and social work reformer. She was active in vocational guidance, industrial relations, civic education, and settlement work. She was interested in “psychological interpenetration”: getting people from different socioeconomic and occupational backgrounds to understand one another's viewpoints

Article

Karene-Anne Nathaniel

Elma Francois (1897–1944) was renowned for her Afro-Caribbean activism against the deplorable living conditions of the poor in the British colonies of the English-speaking Caribbean. She led many public demonstrations to highlight the plight of persons living in poverty. She made her greatest contribution as one of the first women in the trade union movement in Trinidad. Francois worked as a community organizer in grass-roots communities, educating persons about the importance of exercising their voices. Her approach to community organizing followed what has been taught about Jane Addams’ Settlement House Movement, where she immersed herself in communities and built strong relationships with members so she could really understand their plight and so gain their trust. Unlike Addams, Francois was from a very deprived background and was not formally educated. She is renowned as the first woman to be charged and acquitted for sedition in Trinidad during the rise of the trade union movement.

Article

Maryann Syers

Lee Kaufer Frankel (1867–1931) was a chemist and developer of family casework practice. He is known for his contributions to health insurance, family services, and Jewish welfare. He was an instructor at the New York School of Philanthropy and was instrumental in establishing the Training School for Jewish Social Work.

Article

Wilma Peebles-Wilkins

Edward Franklin Frazier (1894–1962) was a research sociologist and educator. Noted for his work on the Black family and the Black middle class, he was head of the Department of Sociology at Howard University for 24 years.

Article

Vesela Ivanova and Vaska Stancheva-Popkostadinova

Anne O. Freed (1917–2012) is among the pioneers in clinical social work in the United States. She served as a clinician, administrator, researcher, lecturer, and mentor. She advanced clinical social work practice and furthered the awareness of mental health issues in geriatric practice. Anne introduced clinical social work to Bulgaria.

Article

Edna Comer

Paulo Freire (1921–1997), a Brazilian educator and author, is known for his theoretical contributions to education. His text Pedagogy of the Oppressed is considered one of the foundational texts of the critical pedagogy movement.

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Juan Ramos

Ernesto Galarza (1905–1984) was a social work scholar at San Jose State University and an advocate of social justice. He was credited with ending the Bracero program and contributed to policy changes in the health and safety of farm workers.

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Maryann Syers

Edward Miner Gallaudet (1837–1917) founded the Columbia Institute for the Deaf and Dumb in Washington, DC, to provide college-level education for deaf people and was president of the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf from 1895 until 1917.

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Maryann Syers

Thomas Gallaudet (1822–1902) devoted his life to ministering to deaf people. He was ordained a priest in 1851 and in 1852 he established St. Ann's Church for Deaf Mutes, conducting regular services in sign language.

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Maryann Syers

Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet (1787–1851) and his two sons, Thomas and Edward Miner, are renowned for their commitment to the education of deaf people. In 1817 he established the first free American school for the deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.

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Kesharichand Dashrathsa Gangrade (1926–2019) is known for his indigenous writings and application of Gandhian principles in social work practices in India. He developed the concept of Gandhian social work—an amalgamation of Gandhian ideology and values of social work practice. He had an immense exposure to the sociocultural dynamics of different societies and working with vulnerable groups and marginalized communities. Gangrade brought all his wisdom, from experiments to experiences in community organization practices, in his 30 books. He was also an educational administrator par excellence. Imbibing Gandhian virtues in his practices and belief in simplicity and trusteeship as life principles, he learned, loved, and lured values of life with Gandhian ethics. Along with academics, he worked with Mahatma Gandhi’s close associate Jai Prakash Narayan through promoting nongovernmental and community-based organizations for rural development.

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Maryann Syers

Annette Marie Garrett (1898–1957) was a social worker and social work educator who contributed to the development of casework practice, especially in the field of industrial counseling. From 1935, she taught at Smith College School for Social Work.

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Wassie Kebede

Seyoum Gebreselassie was a founder of the first effort to establish an African Association of Schools of Social Work and served as a vice president of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). He was one of the leaders in the reestablishment of social work education in Ethiopia in the 21st century and achieved the highest academic rank, full professor, in 1995.

Article

Brittany A. Woods

Eugene T. Gendlin (1926–2017) was an Austro-American philosopher, psychotherapist, educator, and author who is best known for developing the therapeutic approach of focusing. Although Gendlin was a philosopher at heart, he devoted his life to working in the fields of philosophy, psychology, and psychotherapy.

Article

Ann Hartman

Carel Bailey Germain (1916–1995) was a scholar, teacher, writer, and theoretician at the University of Connecticut and at Columbia University. Born in San Francisco, Germain's interest in nature had major significance for the future development of social work practice theory.

Article

Miriam Dinerman, Kim Lorber, and Adele Weiner

Margaret Gibelman (1947–2005) was a scholar of the social work profession, the social service delivery system, and social work education. She was a faculty member at Rutgers University, Catholic University, and Yeshiva University.

Article

Linda Kreitzer and Richard Ramsay

Gayle Gilchrist-James (1940–2008) was a leader in social work in Canada and around the world. Through her social work practice, academia, and leadership at the national and international levels, she exemplified what a social worker could do through hard work, vision, and passion. Her wholistic systems view gave her the sense of “no limits” about her life and work. Her leadership was rooted in compassion and a humanitarian perspective. She was a role model to students and faculty at the University of Calgary in her teaching style and how she cared deeply for the students she taught. Her crowning accomplishments were her work with the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) as vice-president (North America) and president and the creation of the IFSW’s Commission on Human Rights.