NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Case Western Reserve University students honor 10 NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Susan Chan as been a pioneer in introducing mental health and social services to the Asian community in New York City After graduating from Chun Chi College in Hong Kong, Susan received her Masters of Science in Social Work from Columbia School of Social Work where she was the only Asian student in the class of 1969 and one of the first Asians at that time to enter professional social work. After graduation she went to work for Hamilton Madison House were she was in 1970 the first bilingual/bicultural social worker hired by Hamilton-Madison House to work in Chinatown in New York City. There thirty years ago she was instrumental in establishing New York's first community-based mental health program for Chinese immigrants at Hamilton- Madison House, She also helped develop a number of unique mental health and alcoholism programs for Asian Americans specifically Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and the Southeast Asians.
Before her retirement in 2001 as Associate Executive Director of Hamilton Madison House, she administered a major settlement house in lower Manhattan with a budget of $9.5 million, and operated 17 programs with a total staff of 248. In this capacity she was responsible for the development, implementation, and supervision of Mental Health and Alcoholism programs, including three clinics, and four satellite clinics: Chinatown Family Consultation Center, Chinese Alcoholism Project, Chinese Continuing Day Treatment Program, Asian American Outpatient Units (Japanese, Southeast Asian, and Korean), and Smith Consultation Center and Refugee Assistance Program. Most recently she has been involved in a largely uncharted area - developing new programs for Asian clients in South Brooklyn where there has recently been a major influx of immigrants from mainland China.
Because of her leadership and innovativeness in program development, implementation and oversight of services to benefit Asian clients over the last 35 years, she has received numerous awards including the Dynamic Achiever's Award from the Organization of Chinese Americans, Westchester and Hudson Valley Chapter, OCA, the Community Service Award: from New York Coalition for Asian American Mental Health Services, the Founder's Award: from the Coalition of Voluntary Mental Health Agencies, Inc. New York City, the Award for Services to Immigrant Community: from Asian Americans for Equality, the NAFFY Award - "Nurturing the Aspiration of Females for the Future": from National Association of Female Executives, Women Foundation, the MFY - Community Service Award, and the Samuel & May Rudin Community Service Award: from New York University Graduate School of Public Service, NYC
Fluent in Chinese including Cantonese, Mandarin, Toisanese, as well as Shanghainese and Hakka dialects, for many years Susan has used administrative, supervisory, and direct practice skills in work with Asian clients from diverse backgrounds.