NASW Foundation Vice-Chair

Lorraine Cole, PhD

Lorraine Cole, PhD

Dr. Lorraine Cole’s career as a leader of national organizations advancing women’s empowerment, racial and gender equity, and parity in health and health care has spanned three decades. Dr. Cole was appointed Director of the Office of Women and Minority Inclusion at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. She is the former Chief Executive Officer of the YWCA USA, which was the nation’s oldest and largest women’s organization, founded more than 150 years ago. Prior to the YWCA, Dr. Cole served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, the only national organization dedicated solely to the health of African American women. 

She previously served as Executive Director of the National Medical Association, the national professional organization representing African American physicians and the patients they serve. She was Executive Director of the Minority Health Professions Foundation, which supports biomedical research in schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and veterinary medicine. She also directed the Office of Minority Concerns for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Recognized as a tenacious advocate for women, people of color, and underserved populations, Dr. Cole is the recipient of numerous honors, including an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service from Southern Connecticut State University and the Dr. Dorothy I. Height Vision Award from Meharry Medical College. She has served on a number of nonprofit and corporate boards. She was one of the principals who led the 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C. that drew more than 1.2 million participants. 

She Co-Chaired the Task Force for the U.S. ratification of the U.N. Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Under Dr. Cole’s leadership, YWCA USA was a Co-Sponsor of the four Presidential and Vice Presidential debates for the historic 2008 election. She has been a fellow of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, a research fellow of both the Ford and Rockefeller foundations and a health advocacy fellow of the Avery Institute for Social Change. Dr. Cole earned her PhD in Communication Science and Disorders at Northwestern University and is a Certified Association Executive. 

NASW Social Work Talks Podcast Logo

In Episode 5, NASW Social Work Talks Podcast features the Director of the NASW Foundation, Bob Arnold.   Tune in for a discussion about the Foundation's many educational, research, and  charitable  initiatives.