NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Phyllis Caroff (1924 - )
Phyllis Caroff is a pioneering theorist, administrator, teacher and practitioner in the field of social work. As a professor at Hunter College, she created the first advanced clinical training program in a school of social work. She was responsible for the development of the first model of multi-professional training in social work in a health setting.
Caroff served on a number of university-wide committees, most notably on the task force for the development of curriculum for conjoint teaching of medical and social work students at Mt. Sinai Hospital, an early example of multidisciplinary efforts.
Caroff was very active at Hunter College and the City University of NY’s Graduate Center and is now Professor Emerita of these institutions. She served as Professor of Social Work at Hunter College beginning in 1976. Caroff served as Chairperson of the Mt. Sinai Task Force on Interprofessional Education from 1972-1974 and as Co-chairperson to the Committee on Professional Education and Training at Mt. Sinai’s School of Medicine/Hunter College Long Term Care Gerontology Center in 1979. She was Founder and Director of the Post Master’s Program in Advanced Clinical Social Work from 1976-1986. She also served as an Adjunct Professor at Mt. Sinai’s School of Medicine’s Division of Community Medicine. She also maintained a private practice in family and marital therapy.
Caroff was a member of the Society for Social Work Administrators in Health Care, the Council on Social Work Education, and a Fellow of the Society of Clinical Social Workers.
She served on the editorial boards of Social Work in Health Care for more than 20 years and on the Journal of Gerontological Social Work for more than 25 years.
Phyllis Caroff received her D.S.W. from Columbia University’s School of Social Work in 1969 and her M.S.W. from Columbia University in 1947. She earned her B.A. from Douglass College in New Jersey in 1944.
Caroff also received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Hunter College in New York.
Caroff and her husband Joseph have endowed a master’s degree fellowship and a doctoral degree fellowship at Columbia University’s School of Social Work.
Significant Achievements and Awards
1988: Douglass Society, alumnae cited for distinguished achievement
1985: President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Hunter College
1981: Who’s Who in the East
1972: Outstanding Educators of America Award
Distinguished Practitioner, National Academy of Practice
Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.
Caroff has more than 30 publications, including books, monographs and peer-reviewed journal articles. Some of her publishing highlights include:
Reflections on the dilemmas of teaching clinical social work practice in the educational continuum (1993). Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 7(1).
The application of theory to practice in The Encyclopedia Handbook of Private Practice (Eric Morgenaw, ed.), 1990. New York,NY:Gardner Press.
Introduction in Psychosocial Studies: Advances in Clinical Social Work (P. Caroff and M.L. Gottesfeld, eds.), 1987. New York,NY:Gardner Press.
Clinical social work: Present role and future challenge (1988). Social Work in Health Care, 13(3), 21-33.
A New Model in Academic Practice Partnership: A Multi-Instructor and Institutional Social Work Education Experiment, (H. Rehr and P. Caroff, eds.), 1986. New York,NY:Haworth Press.