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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Rosalie Kane
Rosalie Kane (1940-2020)*

Rosalie A Kane, PhD, MSW, was a researcher, educator writer, mentor, and advocate who for 50 years worked to transform long-term care (LTC), now more often called long-term services and supports (LTSS). She focused on adults needing or receiving LTSS regardless of their ages, health problems and nature of the disability (physical, cognitive and or psychological health), or their living setting (nursing homes, group residential settings, or private homes). She championed the idea that adults living with disabilities are unique individuals with biographies, preferences, social networks and lifelong strengths, and that they are part of the social fabric of families and communities. Her research and policy analysis spanning multiple methods illuminated the voice and lived experiences of adults using LTSS. She advocated for governmental and organizational policies and practices to align LTSS to the preferences of their clientele. She was a consistent national advocate for the rights of adults needing LTSS to live in the least restrictive (most integrated) settings of their choice and to take informed risks. Her leadership helped enshrine those rights in federal and state law and regulations, and related professional and organizational practices. During her career, she was a professor in both the School of Social Work and the School of Public Health and in the cross disciplinary centers for gerontology and for bioethics at the University of Minnesota.


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.