Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship

The Jane Baerwald Aron Doctoral Fellowship provides partial support to social work doctoral candidates who are engaged in dissertation research in health care policy and practice. The fellowship program was established in 1987 as a tribute to Aron, who was a leader in health care policy and education.

The Aron Fellowship currently is supplemented by, and part of, the Social Work HEALS program (along with the Vern LaMarr Lyons Memorial scholarship), which was funded in 2014 by a generous five-year grant from the New York Community Trust Robert and Ellen Popper Scholarship Fund.  The Foundation is pleased to administer this five-year collaborative endeavor of NASW and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). 

About The Fellowship And Its Namesake

Jane B. Aron, who died in 1983, devoted her career to creating social policy that was responsive to people's needs. She was best known through her longtime association with New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center and Mills College in California. The Aron Fellowship is awarded based on the projected annual earnings to the fund and contributions (including funds from the five-year grant awarded in 2014 from the New York Community Trust Robert and Ellen Popper Scholarship Fund).  A panel reviews applicants and selects the award recipient.

Jane B. Aron Fellowship Guidelines

The objective of this grant is to strengthen the delivery of health care services in the United States by advancing the education and training of health care social workers. The Aron Fellowship currently is supplemented by, and part of, the five-year Social Work HEALS program. The HEALS grant increases annual funding from one fellowship in the amount of $4,000 to one fellowship in the amount of up to $17,900 (historically the Aron Fellowship has been awarded based on projected annual earnings and contributions). The increased funding raises the prestige/stature of the Aron Fellowship and allows for leadership development opportunities.

One Aron Fellowship in the amount of up to $17,900 be awarded each year of the HEALS grant cycle to a social work doctoral candidate whose dissertation focuses on health policy and practice.  Dissertations that include a diversity component are encouraged.  Diversity is taking on broader meaning and is to include race and ethnicity as well as the sociocultural experiences of people of different genders, social classes, religious and spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, ages, and physical, and mental abilities. As part of the award, the recipient will be expected to submit a final dissertation to the NASW Foundation upon completion.

A total of up to $15,500 will be disbursed directly to the recipient's university and a total of up to $2,400 will be earmarked for conference attendance and participation and leadership development. As part of the award, the 2019-2020 recipient will be expected to attend and participate in a poster session presenting his/her dissertation study purpose/study question at NASW’s National Conference, in 2020. Expenses for conferences and professional development must be approved through the NASW Foundation and funds will not be distributed directly to the recipient.  [The 2020-2021 Fellowship contingent upon on-going funding from the New York Community Trust.]

Application Requirements For Social Work HEALS / Jane B. Aron Fellowships

Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship applicants must be engaged in dissertation research in health care policy and practice and fulfill the following requirements:

  • Applicant must be a member of NASW and CSWE in good standing and be in a doctoral program in a social work education program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. Awardee must remain a member in good standing throughout the award period.
  • Application Form.
  • Three-page proposal summary (double-spaced). The summary must include objectives of the project, statement of relevance and significance, project design and methodology, the expected dissertation completion date, and itemized budget. If an applicant's university requires an administration fee to process and administer the fellowship, the maximum amount that can be paid with fellowship funding for this indirect expense is 10% of the total of the award.
  • The summary should describe how the dissertation includes a diversity component and address health disparities or inequities in health care access. Dissertations that include a diversity component are encouraged. Diversity is taking on broader meaning and is to include race and ethnicity as well as the sociocultural experiences of people of different genders, social classes, religious, and spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, ages, and physical, and mental abilities.
  • Written statement from doctoral dissertation chair verifying doctoral candidacy and supporting the relevance of the dissertation to addressing health care service delivery and how it will advance social work practice or policy related to health care.
  • Student curriculum vitae.
  • Signed release of information.

Criteria For Review Of Proposal

The criteria for review of the proposal will include relevance and timeliness of the project (i.e., need in the field, quality of the research design, potential for completion, and potential impact to assist under-served populations). Applicant must articulate knowledge of contemporary health care delivery and policy and practice challenges. Key areas might include implementation of Affordable Care Act (ACA), innovative healthcare delivery, patient care, trauma informed practice, prevention, health disparities/access, inter-professional education or under-served populations, health care policy or workforce development.  Only completed applications will be considered. Questions should be directed to: naswfoundation@socialworkers.org.

Jane B. Aron Fellowship Recipients

  • 2020 — Sicong (Summer) Sun , MSW, Washington University in St. Louis. "Racial/Ethnic Differences in Wealth–Health Associations."
  • 2019 — Rebecca McCloskey, MSW, Ohio State University.  "Adverse Childhood Experiences, Postpartum Health, and Breastfeeding: A Mixed Methods Study."
  • 2018 —  Margaret Mary Downey, MSW, University of California (UC) – Berkeley.  "Animating the Social Determinants of Health."
  • 2017 — Whitney Sewell, Washington University of St. Louis. The research explores why the use of a new prevention option for HIV-negative individuals - oral daily pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), that has been shown to reduce HIV acquisition, is disproportionately lower among African American women. The study will address this gap.
  • 2016 — Laura Stiel, Loma Linda University.  The objective of this dissertation is to identify individual-level and ecologic factors, including geographic place and space, associated with the increased rate of screening mammography undertaken by Black women in the U.S. from 2008-2012.
  • 2015 — Donald Gerke, George Warren Brown School of Social Work - Washington University of St. Louis. "Violence Exposure and Pathways to HIV Risk Behaviors among Black and White Young Men who have Sex with Men."
  • 2014 — Jagadisa-devasri Dacus, Silberman School of Social Welfare at Hunter College. "Identifying the Psychosocial Strengths and Resiliency of Black Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) in New York City who maintain HIV-seronegativity."
  • 2013 — Patricia Yu,  Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. "Lives and Experiences of Foreign Home Health Workers."
  • 2012 — Jennifer Greenfield, Washington University in St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work.
  • 2011 — Charu Stokes, Boston College, Graduate School of Social Work.  "Complex Lives: Resiliency of Midlife African American Women Living with HIV/AIDS Serving as Informal Kinship Care Providers."
  • 2010 — Sherma Charlemagne, Loma Linda University, Dept of Social Work and Social Ecology. "Impact of Family Involvement in Inpatient Psychiatric Care on Mental Health Outcomes for Children and Adolescent - The Role of Clinician Beliefs." The study will examine whether mental health outcomes for children and adolescents in psychiatric hospitals vary by clinician based on family involvement in inpatient planning, visitation, and discharge planning for children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders.
  • 2009 — Shawn King, Ohio State University.  Explore the factors affecting health care service delivery and the subsequent impact this has for the LGBT community, specifically gay men.
  • 2008 — Kelly A. Williams, School of Social Work, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. "Help-seeking and health and mental health service use among sexual minority youth." 
  • 2007 — Amy R. Krentzman, Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Case Western Reserve University.  "Religious Coping and Alcoholism Treatment Outcomes: A Comparison between Black and White Respondents."
  • 2006 — Michelle A. Johnson, University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare. "Perinatal Health Disparities among women and infants of Mexican-Origin: Does Neighborhood Matter?"
  • 2005 — Julie Darnell, The University of Chicago, The School of Social Service Administration. "What Factors Predict the Prevalence of Free Clinics in Metropolitan Communities?"
  • 2004 — Melissa Hayden Bellin, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia. "An ecological model of adjustment for adolescent siblings of youth with spina bifida."
  • 2003 — Award not given
  • 2002 — Deneece Ferrales, University of Texas, Austin. "The Development of HIV/AIDS Policy: An International Policy Analysis."
  • 2001 — Award not given
  • 2000 — Victoria Rizzo, University at Albany, State University of New York.  "The Provision of Social Support Services by Social Workers to Post-Stroke Patients in an Inpatient Physical Rehabilitation Program: Predictors, Social Support Interventions and Outcomes."
  • 1999 — University at Albany, State University of New York. "Depressive Symptoms Among Grandparent Caregivers: Religion as a Protective Factor."
  • 1990 — Grace Poertner, Washington University, St. Louis.
  • 1989 — Jacqueline Burnette, University of California, Berkeley.
  • 1988 — Scott Geron, University of Chicago.
  • 1987 — Betsy Blades, Bryn Mawr.
2018-2019 Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellow Margaret Mary Downey, MSW

Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellow Margaret Mary Downey, MSW, USC California, said of her 2018-2019 award, "This award will greatly enhance my ability to complete a research project that will address pressing questions in health-related social work policy and practice."

Dr. Joan Levy Zlotnik Speaks At Social Works HEALS Lunch NASW 2018 Conference

Dr. Joan Levy Zlotnik speaks at the 2018 Social Work HEALS Luncheon at the NASW National Conference in June in Washington, DC. Social Work HEALS Scholars participate in the NASW National Conference as part of their scholarship requirements.

Young Woman Engrossed In Application At Table


Online applications were accepted January 22 through March 11, 2020.

To read current bios of NASW Foundation Scholars and Fellows follow this link >>

Follow this link for more information about the Social Work HEALS Program >>


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