NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Essie D. Morgan
After earning her MSW degree at Atlanta University, Morgan joined the staff of the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskeegee, Alabama. There she developed a community placement program for psychiatric patients which served as a model for the VA's psychiatric hospital system.
In 1965, Morgan joined the VA's Washington Central Office, Social Work staff, where she became the Chief, Community Service Section. In this capacity, she provided national leadership and direction in the out-placement of patients into community care settings. She also served as liaison social worker to the Spinal Cord Injury Service. Later, she became the first Chief of a newly created program, Socio-Economic Rehabilitation and Staff Development, for the Spinal Cord Injury Service, a program that grew out of her effective work as the liaison social worker.
In recognition of her demonstrated administrative and leadership qualities, the VA Administrator of the Department of Veterans Benefits selected her for the post of Area Field Director, Western Region. She completed her VA career as the Manager, Washington, DC Regional Office. She was the first black woman to hold these positions.
Among her many awards were the Federal Career Women's Award from the Civil Service Commission, and the Speedy Award from the Paralyzed Veterans of America, an award she prized above all others.