NASW Pioneers Biography Index

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is pleased to present the NASW Social Work Pioneers®. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known, while others are less famous outside their immediate colleagues, and the region where they live and work. But each one has made an important contribution to the social work profession, and to social policies through service, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, or legislation.

The NASW Pioneers have paved the way for thousands of other social workers to contribute to the betterment of the human condition; and they are are role models for future generations of social workers. The NASW Foundation has made every effort to provide accurate Pioneer biographies.  Please contact us at to provide missing information, or to correct inaccurate information. It is very important to us to correctly tell these important stories and preserve our history.  

Please note, an asterisk attached to a name reflects Pioneers who have passed away. All NASW Social Work Pioneers® Bios are Copyright © 2021 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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Morton Teicher Photo
Morton Teicher*

Morton Teicher, PhD, ACSW, was an active  NASW member since its formation. He was a chapter president, a delegate to several Delegate Assemblies, and a member of the Commission that produced the first NASW Code of Ethics. He established three programs in social work education: Yeshiva University, where he served as Dean; Oppenheimer College of Social Services in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia); and Bar Ilan University in Israel. He also worked to establish social work doctoral programs at Yeshiva University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Teicher was one of the first military psychiatric social workers, serving in the China-Burma-India Theater for 30 months during World War II. He was among the first social workers to achieve officer status in the army. While at Yeshiva University, Dr. Teicher taught and modeled political involvement for social change. Eleanor Roosevelt praised his activism in her column, "My Day" in 1959. Dr. Teicher earned his PhD in anthropology, doing field work among the Inuit and the Iroquois. His many published books and articles include seminal contributions in the field of cross-cultural psychopathology as well as a pictorial biography of the American novelist, Thomas Wolfe.

Obituary from the University of North Carolina School of Social Work.

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Please note, Pioneer nominations made between today’s date through March 31, 2023, will not be reviewed until spring 2023.

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.

New Pioneers 

Congratulations newly elected Pioneers!  Pioneers will be inducted at the 2023  Annual Program and Luncheon. Full biographies and event details coming soon.