NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Barbara Berkman is most well known for her research that has led to creating the standards and methodologies for supporting and demonstrating the efficacy and value of social work.
Dr. Berkman has received many awards and honors. In 1986, she became the first recipient of the Edith Abbott Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. In 1987, she received the Greatest Contribution to Practice Award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and the Hyman J. Weiner Award for Distinguished Scholarship Contributing to Health Care Practice and Administration from the Society of Hospital Social Work Directors of the American Hospital Association. In 1994, she was honored by the National Association of Social Workers when she received the Ruth Knee/Milton Wittman Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health and Mental Health Policy. In 2002, she received the Career Achievement Award from the Association of Geriatric Education in Social Work. And in 2009, she was honored with the Donald P. Kent Lifetime Achievement Award from the Gerentological Society of America for her professional leadership in gerontology through teaching, service, and interpretation of gerontology to the larger society.
Dr. Berkman received her MA from the University of Chicago School of Social Service in 1960 and her DSW in 1970 from Columbia University. She began her career in Chicago at the Jewish Family and Community Services. She later moved to New York City and joined the staff of the Community Service Society and later the Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she worked from 1965-1980 when she moved to Boston. She worked from 1980-1987 as Director of the Social Work and Healthcare Program at Massachusetts General Hospital's Institute of Health Professions and later as director of research for 9 years. She has been on the faculty of Simmons College School of Social Work, Harvard Medical School and the Columbia University School of Social Work. Currently, Dr. Berkman is a Research Professor at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW).