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.

Skip Navigation Links
Terry Mizrahi Photo
Terry Mizrahi

Pioneering Contributions

Terry Mizrahi, PhD, MSSW, is recognized locally, nationally, and internationally in the fields of community organizing, interdisciplinary collaboration in health care, coalition building, and patients’ rights. Mizrahi’s collaborative efforts have been recognized both here and in Israel, where she has worked with community organizers, physicians, and patients. Mizrahi has served as a coordinator for Hunter College’s Hunter-Israel Research and Training Collaboration since 2008, which partners with Haifa University, Ben Gurion University, Israel’s Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute, Israel’s leading center for applied research on social policy. She has directed the Education Center for Community Organizing (ECCO) since 1982. ECCO is a resource for networking and information-sharing in the New York area and has hosted numerous conferences and projects on social change.

Career Highlights

Mizrahi currently is a Professor at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. She has been on the Hunter faculty since 1980. For her health policy course Mizrahi developed a framework for examining the ideologies of the U.S. health care system and a patients’ rights model for understanding rights, responsibilities, and resources.

She conducts collaborative, trans-national interdisciplinary research with Yossi Korazim in Israel, and conducts a study on the role of gender and organizing in that country. Mizrahi was a founding Board Member of the Child Welfare Organizing Project, on which she continues to serve. She was President of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) from 2001-2003 and is a Founder of the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration's Journal of Community Practice. She also served as Co-Editor of the 2008 edition of the Encyclopedia of Social Work.

Biographic Data

Mizrahi received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, in 1983. She earned her MSSW Degree from Columbia University in 1966 and her BA Degree from New York University in 1963.

Significant Achievements and Awards

  • 2012:  Delivered two invited keynote addresses at The College of Management and Hebrew University in Israel.
  • 2011:  City University of New York’s Diversity Award.
  • 2010:  Margo Schutz Gordon Invited Special Lecturer, Kansas City School of Social Welfare.
  • 2008:  Hunter College Presidential Award for Excellence in Applied Scholarship.
  • 2007:  New York State Social Work Educator of the Year and Roosevelt House Policy Scholar.
  • 2006:  Fulbright Fellowship to Hebrew University, Israel.
  • 2004:  Career Achievement Award from the Association for community Organization and Social Administration.
  • 2000:  Distinguished Service Award from the NASW-New York Chapter.
  • 1994:  First social worker to receive the Department of Health and Human Services’ Primary Care Policy Fellowship.

Significant Publications

  • Mizrahi, T. (2012). How I became a community organizer as a casework social work student. In Social Work Matters: the Power of Linking Policy and Practice, Elizabeth Hoffler and Elizabeth Clark, (Eds.) Washington, DC:NASW Press.
  • Mizrahi, T. & Lombe, M. (2006). Perspectives from women organizers. Journal of Community Practice, 14(3), 93-118.
  • Mizrahi, T. & Rosenthal, B. (1999). Complexities of coalition building: Leaders’ successes, strategies, struggles, and solutions. Social Work, 46(1), 63-78.
  • Mizrahi, T. (1992). Toward a national health care system: Progress and problems. Health and Social Work, 17(3), 167-171.
  • Mizrahi, T. (1985). Getting rid of patients: Contradictions in the socialization of internists to the doctor-patient relationship. Sociology of Health and Illness, 7(2), 214-235.

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!  2020 & 2021 Pioneers will be inducted at the 2022 Annual Program and Luncheon. Full biographies and event details coming soon.

  • Bruce Donald Buchanan
  • Philip Davis
  • Joel Fischer
  • Maeda J. Galinsky
  • Hali Hansuli Giessler
  • Richard Alan Hoefer
  • John "Jay" Kenney
  • Mary Jo Monahan
  • Alicia Nájera 
  • Lynette Kahekili Kaopuiki Paglinawan
  • Richard Kekumuikawaiokeola Paglinawan
  • Jean Kathleen Quam
  • Diana S. Richmond Garland
  • Marlene Anita Saunders
  • Vicki L. Shepard
  • Shulamith Lala Ashenberg Straussner
  • Reeta Wolfsohn
  • Marleen Wong   
  • Richard Woodrow    
  • John A. Yankey
  • Jeffrey Scott Yarvis