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Social Work Pioneers

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Alejandro Garcia, PhD, MSW

Dr. Alejandro Garcia has made significant contributions to the social work profession through teaching, research, and policy advocacy.  Since 1978, he has been a member of the faculty at Syracuse University’s School of Social Work, College of Human Services and Health Professions, where he served as chair of the Gerontology Concentration and presently teaches gerontology, human diversity and social policy courses.  He also served as chair of the board of directors (1998-present) of the National Hispanic Council on Aging, and was a delegate to the 1981 and 1995 White House Conferences on Aging.  Throughout his career, Garcia has challenged our thinking about social policy and the elderly.

Prior to joining the faculty at Syracuse University, Garcia worked at the National Association of Social Workers from 1970 to 1971, as the national student coordinator, and also as a staff associate, from 1971 to1974.  Over the years, he continued to serve NASW as NASW’s second vice president, (1986-1988); president of the New York State Chapter (1984-1986); and member of the National Board of Directors (1979-1982). Garcia has also been a member of the National Committee on the Aged (1977-1979); member of the National Peace and Social Welfare Committee (1976-1979); and a consultant on affirmative action (1978-1979); and was consulting editor to Social Work, the premier journal of the profession, (1998-2002).

Committed to ensuring quality social work education, Garcia has been a site visitor and consultant to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).  In addition, he has served as a member of CSWE’s Board of Directors (1989-1992); as a member of the Commission on Accreditation; and consulting editor to the Journal of Social Work Education

Garcia has been a strong advocate for Hispanic populations, particularly the elderly, throughout his career.  In addition to serving as a member of the editorial board and book review editor for the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, he has been an elected officer and member of the board of the National Hispanic Council on Aging.  He is also on the editorial board of the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare and served on the editorial board of the 19th edition of the Encyclopedia of Social Work (1995) and its 1997 supplement.

Garcia’s many honors include the establishment of a scholarship in his name¾The Alejandro Garcia Scholarship for Excellence in Social Work¾by the California State University. He has also been named Distinguished Social Work Educator of the Decades by the Division of Social Work, California State University, Sacramento; has had an internship¾The Alejandro Garcia Internship on Poverty and Hunger Policy¾named after him by the National Hispanic Council on Aging; and has been named Scholar/Teacher of the Year by Syracuse University.  He has also authored a number of publications appearing in journals and books, and has given more than 100 presentations at scientific meetings.  Garcia is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Garcia received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin, in 1963; and a master’s degree in social work from California State University at Sacramento, in 1969.  He earned his PhD in Social Welfare Policy from The Florence Heller Graduate School for Advanced Studies in Social Welfare, at Brandeis University, in 1980.

Social Work Pioneer 2003

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