NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Nathan Cohen (1902 - 2001)
Nathan Cohen was the first president of the National Association of Social Workers from 1955 to 1957. He devoted his long professional career to the improvement and expansion of social work; he retired in the 1980s as Dean of the School of Welfare at the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to that, he was at Case Western Reserve as Dean of the School of Applied Social Science and then University Vice President. From 1945 until1955 Dr. Cohen was on the faculty of the New York School of Social Work. During the 1940s he served as Executive Director of the Young Men's Hebrew Association in Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts.
Dr. Cohen was awarded a B.A. degree and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology from Harvard University in the 1930s. Throughout his career Dr. Cohen was a leader in all aspects of social work organizations. He was president of the predecessor organization of the Council on Social Work Education, the American Association of Schools of Social Work, vice-president of the American Association of Group Workers, and president of the National Conference on Social Welfare from 1963 to 1964. Dr. Cohen served as a special consultant to the National Institute of Mental Health, the Children's Bureau, and the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. His publications include Social Work in the American Tradition and Citizen Volunteer.