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Joan Ditzion, LICSW, MSW

Knee-Wittman Lifetime Achievement Award

Photo of Joan Ditzion

Joan Ditzion, LICSW, MSW, is an original founder of The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, now known as Our Bodies Ourselves, and co-author of all nine editions of Our Bodies Ourselves including the 40th Anniversary Edition (2011), Ourselves and Our Children (1978), Our Bodies Ourselves, Menopause (2006). Our Bodies Ourselves has been translated and adapted into 26 languages and recently the Library of Congress named the book one of the 88 books that “shaped America”.

For more than four decades Ms. Ditzion has been dedicated to advancing the work of Our Bodies Ourselves, ground breaking and radical in its time, which candidly addressed previously obscured issues of women’s health, reproduction and sexuality empowering women to become full participants in defining their own health care needs and supporting women’s health, growth and wellbeing throughout the life cycle, gender equity, and the vitality of feminist values.  Our Bodies Ourselves is one of the few remaining organizations from the early days of the women’s movement and Ms. Ditzion has provided leadership within Our Bodies Ourselves as an original founder, board member and liaison to the founder group.

Ms. Ditzion has been a geriatric social worker since 1985, a profession so compatible with her social justice values. There are few professions which advocate for social justice, human rights, and view individuals in their social, political, cultural, and economic context. Since then, her work has been informed by the synergy between social work and Our Bodies Ourselves work.

She is a passionate advocate for aging women and families, care giving in families, combating ageism, sexism and fostering positive aging, transforming the aging paradigm, and intergenerational connection. She has done this in her writing, speaking, geriatric social work, workshop facilitation and adjunct teaching at Lesley University, Simmons College Continuing Education Program, Cambridge Center for Adult Education, and Brookline Adult and Community Education. She has given presentations at the Massachusetts Chapter of NASW, The American Society of Aging, The Massachusetts Council on Aging, The International Conference on Positive Aging, and in many community and professional settings. She is a longstanding member of NASW, The Simmons School of Social Work Alumni Council, The Life Planning Network, National OWL (Voice for Midlife and Older Women), The Paid Leave Coalition Steering Committee, The American Society of Aging, and the Gerontological Society of America.

Ms. Ditzion was awarded the Alumni Special Recognition Award by the Simmons School of Social Work Alumni Association in April 2012 and the Lifetime Achievement Award by The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) at its 41st Annual Awards Ceremony in April 2013.

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