Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks made significant contributions to the practice of social work in the roles of educator, administrator, and multi-cultural scholar. She is nationally and internationally recognized for the advancement of culturally competent practice with such diverse groups as Alzheimer patients, immigrants, traumatized children, and substance abusers. The settings for this practice include hospitals, schools, and child welfare, and family agencies. Her field of practice was social work education, and most particularly, culturally competent social work practice and education.
Dr. Ortiz Hendricks Chaired the Sub-Committee of NASW's National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity that developed the association's standards for culturally competent social work practice. These standards were later endorsed by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). She also served as a Commissioner on CSWE's Commission on Accreditation.
Among her most celebrated published works are the two editions of Learning to Teach, Teaching to Learn: A Guide for Social Work Education, which she co-authored with Jeanne Bertrand Finch of Stony Brook University, State University of New York, and Cheryl L. Franks of Columbia University and John Jay College of Criminal Justice. She was co-editor of Intersecting Child Welfare, Substance Abuse and Family Violence: Culturally Competent Approaches with R. Fong, and R. McRoy (2006, Alexandria, VA: CSWE Press) and co-author of Women of Color as Social Work Educators: Strengths and Survival with Halaevalu F. Ofahengaue Vakalahi and Saundra Hardin Starks (2007). In addition to the above books, Dr. Ortiz Hendricks authored and co-authored articles, monographs, and manuals that address culturally competent practice.
Dr. Ortiz Hendricks worked primarily in social work departments of universities in New York City. After 25 years at Hunter College School of Social Work, she became Associate Dean and Professor at Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, also in New York City. In 2007, as part of a Fulbright Scholarship to Israel, she consulted with Israeli social work educators, and taught several classes at Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University. As a member of the Cuban Research Project and Collaborative with the University of Havana, Dr. Ortiz Hendricks also contributed to the practice and education of social workers in Cuba.
In addition to her leadership in the area of cultural competency, she championed the cause of recruiting and advancing persons of color to and in the field of social work. Of particular concern to Dr. Ortiz Hendricks was Latinos' increasing representation in the United States population, not matched by their entry in the social work profession. She wrote articles, and developed, and led forums and roundtables on the need to recruit more Latino social workers.
Dr. Ortiz Hendricks promoted cultural competency and diversity, not only in her public roles, but also in her classroom and through interactions with individual students. In the classroom, she modeled the empowerment of students as subjects, based on the teachings of Friere. Through her methods, students became open to new knowledge and ideas and to challenging the prevailing stereotypes and ideologies. The modeling was particularly useful for those PhD students learning to be college professors themselves. As teachers learn, they obviously multiply the impact of their learning in their applications to students in their own classrooms. Dr. Ortiz Hendricks not only taught students, but also learned from them. These pedagogical examples, as well as the activities described above, are just some of the ways Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks was a role model for future generations of social workers.
In Memoriam, Dr. Carmen Ortiz Hendricks, Yeshiva University