NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Robyn Golden (1957 - )
Pioneering contributions: Robyn L. Golden's contributions and professional leadership in the practice area of older adults have been exceptional. Ms. Golden has been involved in education, program development, research and policy implementation, system integration, and health and wellbeing for older adults and their families. In Golden’s early years in social work, she taught the only course on social work and aging at the University of Chicago and helped develop their older adults program. She found a lack of interest in the social work community to serve the elderly population and Golden’s career-long dedication to encouraging social workers to be involved in the needs of the population continues today. Golden was selected a Heinz Senate Fellow in Aging Policy and worked for one year in the Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton where she served as aging and health policy advisor to the Senator on issues of Medicare, care giving, mental health, Alzheimer’s disease, and long-term care. She was a member of the legislative team, who provided analysis in her area of expertise, suggested policy priorities, met with constituents, and prepared speeches. She had a particular interest in understanding what could be done about successful programs that often suddenly ended when funding sources were lost. One of the highlights of Golden’s work is the innovative social work model she developed at the Rush University Medical Center for at-risk older adults to receive transitional care. She is a co-founder of the National Coalition on Care Coordination.
Career Highlights: Ms. Golden began her social work career at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago, IL providing mental health services to older adults and their families. She was committed to keeping a generalist approach and is proudly continuing with this mindset today. In 1986 she took a position with the Council for Jewish Elderly and developed educational programs for professionals serving the older adults population, as well as learning initiatives and opportunities for newer social workers to serve the population. She remained with the organization until 2003. Her leadership qualities allowed her steady climb from Clinical Supervisor to Director of Clinical Services, then to Director of Program Development and Provider Relations. Throughout the years, she presented scholarly publications at regional and national conferences. In 2004 she
joined Rush University Medical Center as a faculty member and Director of Older Adult Programs, where she works today.
Over the years, Ms. Golden has been a member and/or advisory committee leader of various professional organizations including the Eldercare Workforce Alliance, the Practice Change Fellows/leaders in Geriatrics Care, the Institute for Geriatric Social Work, the SAMHSA/NASPHD Technical Advisory Committee, the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, and the Council on Social Work Education.
Background: After growing up in Buffalo, NY, Robyn Golden attended Miami University in Ohio earning a B.A. in psychology and sociology. While an undergraduate, she was drawn to the person in environment perspective of social work. In 1981, Golden received her Masters of Arts in Social Work from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
Awards and Recognition: Over Ms. Golden’s dynamic career, she has received numerous awards and honors, both regional and national. In 2000, the American Society on Aging gave her the Leadership Award. In 2009, the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration granted her the Edith Abbott Alumni Award. In 2011, Golden received the Riland Medal of Public Service from the New York Institute of Technology’s College of Medicine and Health Professions. In the same year, the Roslyn Carter Institute honored Robyn Golden with the Leadership in Caregiving Award.
Golden, R. & Saltz, C.C. (1997). The Aging Family. Social Work Response to the White House Conference on Aging, 55-64, The Haworth Press, Inc., Cowlairs Estate, Glasgow, UK.
Shier, G., Rooney, M., and Golden, R. Rush enhanced discharge planning program: A model for social work based transitional care. In: Spitzer, W., Ed. The Evolving Practice of Social Work within Integrated Care. National Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care. Petersburg, Virginia: The Dietz Press; 2011: 57-68.