NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Pearl Bierman (1910 - 2001)
An urban Mid-westerner, Pearl Bierman grew up in the Chicago area where her father was a prominent doctor. She was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Northwestern University, where she graduated in 1929 and then did graduate studies in social work.
After local experience in administration of medical care services for general assistance recipients, planned and administered Illinois' first state-wide medical assistance program for recipients of the federal-state assistance programs. In 1952 she became Medical Care Consultant for the American Public Welfare Association and for nine years, she assisted states and localities in developing and improving their medical assistance programs, so that many of them were able to take early advantage of the federal Medicaid legislation enacted in 1965.
In 1961, Bierman became an assistant branch chief at the Public Health Service, and participated in the planning which resulted in the 1965 Medicare and Medicaid legislation. As Director of the Division of Medical Care Standards, she was responsible for standard setting activities, primarily for Medicare, but also affecting Medicaid.
In 1974 she married Harold Hagen, with whom she had worked at the Public Welfare Association. They later retired in Florida. Pearl Bierman died in 2001.