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NASW Foundation National Programs

Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial MSW Scholarship

The Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarships are awarded to master's degree candidate in social work who demonstrates an interest in or has experience with health/mental health practice and has a commitment to working in African American communities. Previous recipients now work in hospitals, medical clinics, and social services agencies that provide treatment and specialized services to African American patients.

The scholarship program is a memorial to Verne LaMarr Lyons, a social worker and NASW national staff member who died in 1989, while waiting for a heart transplant. Lyons committed his life to increasing awareness of pernicious health concerns affecting African Americans such as insufficient prenatal care, infant mortality, AIDS, cirrhosis, and general life expectancy.

With on-going funding from the New York Community Trust Robert and Ellen Popper Scholarship Fund, the NASW Foundation is pleased to continue SOCIAL WORK HEALS, a collaborative endeavor of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). 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 at the BSW, MSW, PhD/DSW and post-doctoral levels to ensure health care practice excellence.

The Lyons scholarships will be supplemented through and incorporated into the HEALS program to increase the annual funding from 4 scholarships in the amount of $4,150 each to 4 scholarships in the amount of $5,500 each (historically the Lyons Scholarships have been awarded based on projected annual earnings and contributions). The increased funding will raise the prestige/stature of the Lyons Scholarships and will allow for leadership development opportunities.

A total of $4,000 will be disbursed directly to the recipient’s university. An additional $1,500 will be earmarked for each recipient for conference attendance and leadership development. As part of the Lyons Scholarship Award, the recipients will be expected to attend the Social Work HEALS Student Policy Summit in Washington, DC, October/November 2017.Funds will not be distributed directly to the recipient.

To make a donation, click below. A panel reviews applicants and selects the award recipient.


2017-2018 Lyons Scholarship Award Recipients

Previous Lyons Scholarship Recipients

Verne LaMarr Lyons MSW Scholarship Guidelines



Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2018-2019 awards.

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