NASW Foundation National
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Carel B. Germain
Carel B. Germain was born in San Francisco. She received her BA degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her MS and DSW degrees from Columbia School of Social Work. She was a member of the faculty there from 1972 through 1979. She taught at the University of Connecticut's School of Social Work from 1979 until her retirement in 1987. In 1993 she received an honorary doctorate of humane
letters from Smith College.
She was one of the major social worker leaders and thinkers of recent decades. She was internationally recognized for her extensive scholarly writings and research on human behavior in the social environment and her origination of the ecological perspective.
Germain's books include Social Work Practice: People and Environments; The Life Model of Social Work Practice, with Alex Gitterman; Social Work Practice in Health Care: An Ecological View; Advances in Clinical Social Work Practice; and Human Behavior in the Social Environment: An Ecological View. At the time of her death, she had just completed, with Gitterman, a second edition of The Life Model.
During her last 25 years, she lectured and was a visiting professor at numerous universities in the U.S. and abroad and presented many invitational papers on ecological perspectives, the life model of practice, and general systems theory at professional conferences and major symposia.
Carel Germain was a fellow of the Lucille N. Austin Lecture Series, recipient of the Richard Lodge Memorial Prize from Adelphi University, a Welles Distinguished Scholar at George Williams college and was named Social Worker of the Year by NASW's Connecticut Chapter in 1981. From 1983, she served as the external examiner of the Chinese University of the Hong Kong School of Social Work.
Beloved by colleagues and students, Germain was an important mentor to many in the profession.
In 1989, Germain accepted the invitation of the Smith College Sophia Smith Collection to deposit her personal and professional papers in the Women's History Archives.