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Maurice B. Hamovitch (1919-1998)

Maurice Hamovitch was born in Toronto, Canada. He received a BA degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. He received a MSW from McGill University. He went to the University of Chicago to pursue advanced study in medical social work, earning both an AM and PhD degrees. He was the first social worker in the Canadian Army Medical Corps.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1949, and joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, where he became a most influential and popular member for 43 years. He recruited more minority students and faculty, and broadened the curricula to reflect concerns of ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians. He was always attentive to students, their concerns, needs, and problems, even as he was towards his faculty when he became Dean of the School in 1968. He served as dean until his voluntary retirement in 1980. He also served as Director of the school’s doctoral program from 1980-1985.

Dr. Hamovitch was the first recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Stipend Award, designed to encourage social scientists to address mental health issues. He spent a year with Gerald Caplan at the Harvard School of Public Health doing research on mental health consultants.

Dr. Hamovitch was an influential member of the Council on Social Work Education. He chaired both its Committee on Continuing Education (1969-1973) and its Committee on Educational Planning (1975-1979).

He also served as an advisor to several agencies, notably the Jewish Family Service as a member of its board of directors, the Veterans Administration on its advisory committee, as a member of the first NIMH Project Grants Advisory Committee, and on the Centinella Hospital Awards Committee. Dr. Hamovitch became active in the California Social Welfare Archives, a group of volunteers under the sponsorship of the School of Social Work and the University Libraries System, seeking to gather and preserve historical items depicting the development of health and welfare in California. At the time of his death, he was president of this organization.

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