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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Mose Firestone* (1915-2011)

From the time of his MA from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration in 1943 (and prior from 1938 to 1940 as a group worker and group work director) and from his Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology in 1948 from Lincoln University, San Francisco, CA, Dr. Mose Firestone was a practicing clinician, a supervisor, educator, and an administrator of casework services. He practiced in children and family social service agencies, in hospital psychiatric social services, and maintained a private practice for more than 50 years.

Throughout his career, he was an avid student in advancing his psychiatric casework knowledge in regard to children and adults with such luminaries as Professors VanderVeer, Rede, Ross, Bertha Reynolds, et al.  Dr. Firestone felt a personal analysis by Erickson and others gave him the personal-professional self-awareness and theoretical knowledge to bring to a concurrent teaching role – not only in agency supervision but as guest lecturer in a number of schools of social work in California and as a faculty member of the University of Indiana's Division of Social Service in a special one-year appointment.

Dr. Firestone’s exceptional group work skills were evidenced early in his career. He began as a group worker in 1939 and was quickly promoted to the position of Group Work Director, responsible for planning, administering and directing most of the group work activities for children and adults at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center. In this position he also functioned as group work consultant to various public schools, casework agencies, and psychiatric clinics.

In 1951, Dr. Firestone was recalled to the Army as a “critical specialist” assigned to assist in the establishment of casework services in Army hospitals. During this period of additional military service, he was the chief of clinical social work for Western Europe. Later, as Assistant Professor of Social Casework at the University of Indiana, Dr. Firestone not only taught beginning and advanced courses in casework, he also reorganized the curricula in order to qualify the sequence for approval by the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers and by the Council on Social Work Education.

Dr. Firestone held various leadership roles in a number of organizations including the Psychiatric Social Workers of Northern California and the Joint Committee of Medical Social Workers, Psychiatric Social Workers and American Association of Social Workers. After retiring from full-time practice, Dr. Firestone was a consultant to several of the local public schools in California. From 1993 to 2011, he was a Board Member of the Venice Family Clinic, which has received Presidential Commendations. He also was President of the Board of the Los Angeles Retarded Children’s Foundation.

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.