NASW Foundation Homepage
NASW Foundation Board Members
NASW Foundation Programs
NASW Foundation Partners and Donors
NASW Foundation Contact
Make a Donation
NASW Foundation Events
NASW Foundation Fellowship, Scholarship and Research Awards
NASW Social Work Pioneers
NASW Foundation Sitemap

NASW Foundation National Programs

NASW Social Work Pioneers®

Pioneers Main Page
Search the Pioneers


Representative Joseph Gallegos


Pioneering Contributions: Joseph Gallegos's social work career has been one of outstanding accomplishment in research, teaching, and practice on an individual and community level. Gallegos is cited as initiating the concept of cultural competence for social work. The term has become pervasive in government and agencies that serve the diverse clientele of social work. Gallegos's pioneering efforts were shaped by the social work education, mentoring and support that he received. Gallegos played a leading role in establishing a number of social work organizations and programs in Higher Education, including social work education programs. He was among the first CSWE Minority Doctoral Program participants. Gallegos served as chair of the first CSWE Commission on Minority Affairs and oversaw the first accreditation requirement regarding minority content in social work education. He served on several grant review groups for NIMH and received a Promising Researcher Award from the NIMH Center for Prevention that was followed by a Fellowship Award from the Gerontological Society of America. After retiring from academia, Gallegos was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2012 where he continues to champion and sponsor laws that address issues of equity and social justice.

Career Highlights: Gallegos received his Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Social Work from Portland State University, as well as his MSW. He began his career as a School Counselor for the Portland School District for the Chicano Indicant Center of Oregon and then became a Teacher Corp Supervisor for a University of Oregon Teacher Corp Program. This led to the position as Director of Research and Development for Colegio Cesar Chavez. Upon achieving accreditation for the college, Gallegos went to the University of Denver to pursue his doctoral degree as a CSWE Minority Fellow. His first academic appointment was at Portland State University as the Associate Director of the Indian Social Work Education Program as an Assistant Professor. Soon after, he was recruited to the University Of Washington Graduate School Of Social Work to direct an NIMH funded grant to develop minority curriculum for their program. During this time he helped to establish Consejo, a statewide Latino mental health service organization. While on faculty at San Diego State University, he was selected for an NIMH funded Post doctoral postion in Mental Health Research Management at the University of Maryland.

Biographic Data: Born in San Antonio, Texas, the Gallegos family was among the first migrant families to settle in Portland Oregon after World War II. Joseph Gallegos the first and only member of his family to graduate from high school. The decade after high school included work in the shipyards to help support his disabled parents, Vietnam era military service, and night-school at Portland Community College and Portland State University, leading to his bachelor's degree in 1972. He spent the next forty years in education as a school counselor, as a Teacher Corp supervisor, and then as an educator/administrator in higher education. He started his own consulting firm in1976 and has provided research and development services to governments and businesses on an ongoing basis since then. His work has always focused upon marginal groups and issues of diversity. He has been a member of NASW since 1976.

Significant Achievements & Awards Received: In 1974 Gallegos secured a grant from FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education) to develop the Colegio Cesar Chavez program. NIMH award for post-doc study of Mental Health Research Management at the University of Maryland (College Park).He was awarded in the "Social work pioneer Award" from NASW-Oregon Chapter.the; the Oregon State Award for Civil Rights Work on behalf of state of Oregon Hispanic population;the Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Award, Portland, Oregon; and the Aguila Award, for Lifetime Service to the Latino Community, Latino Network.

Significant Publications: "Cultural Competence and International Social Work," Conference Proceedings, International Federation of Social Workers, World Conference, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September, 2000.

Minority perspectives in mental health administration. In Michael J. Austin and William E. Hershey (Eds.), Handbook on Mental Health Administration: The Middle Management Perspective. Jossey Bass, San Francisco, CA, 1982.

Cultural Awareness in the Human Services. Prentice Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1982 (with James Green et al.).

A Reconceptualization of Pluralism for Social Work Education, (1978) Doctoral Dissertation, University of Denver, Denver, Colorado.

Cultural Pluralism in Higher Education: A Case Study. Change in Liberal Education, Carnegie Foundation, Washington, DC, 1976.