International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award

The International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is given to an individual, group, or organization that has significantly advanced the public image of professional social work. This monetary prize is made possible from an endowment fund established by a generous contribution in 1996 from Rhoda Sarnat, LCSW and her spouse, Bernard Sarnat, MD.

About The Award And Its Namesake

Rhoda G. Sarnat, LCSW (1915-2018) was a retired clinical social worker, former faculty member at the University of Southern California Graduate School of Social Work, and a member of NASW who is committed to improving the public perception of professional social work.  She made pioneering efforts in enhancing the public image of professional social work. She worked tirelessly to increase the public’s knowledge, understanding, and respect for professional social work locally, nationally, and internationally.   Mrs. Sarnat is a member of the NASW Social Work Pioneers®.  To learn more about her accomplished life, please follow this link to her NASW Pioneer biography

Rhoda G. Sarnat Award Guidelines

The International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award recognizes significant contributions to the public image of professional social work by a living individual, a group, or an organization.  This award includes, but is not limited to, social workers or social work agencies. One $3,000 cash prize will be awarded.

Nomination Requirements

Summarize the nominee's accomplishments by using the criteria listed below. The following must be submitted online.

  • Completed nomination form.
  • One page summary with clear, concise examples of activities and accomplishments that describe nominee's contributions to a positive image of professional social work, to include: five year history of actions, national or international in scope, evidence to support contribution(s), significant impact on the profession of social work.
  • Professional summary: curriculum vitae or resume for individuals, profile of organization to include mission, scope, structure, size and legal status.
  • Three (3) letters of confirmation of nominee's contributions.

An award panel will review applications and select the award recipient.  Nominations are considered for two consecutive years. Members of the NASW national and chapter board of directors with unexpired terms and all national and chapter staff, while employed by NASW, are ineligible.  For questions, please email the NASW Foundation at:

Rhoda G. Sarnat Award Recipients

Rhoda G. Sarnat, LCSW And Bernard Sarnat, MD - From NASW Archives

Historic photograph of NASW Social Work Pioneer Rhoda G. Sarnat, LCSW and her husband Bernard Sarnat, MD. The International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award is presented to an individual, group, or organization by the NASW Foundation in her honor.

2016 International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award Recipient Ambassador Wendy Sherman With NASW President Dr. Kathry Conley Wehrmann

Ambassador Wendy Sherman, the International Rhoda G. Sarnat recipient (left) receiving award from former NASW President, Kathryn Conley Wehrmann, PhD, MSW, June 22, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Follow this link to a video of the 2018 awards ceremony