NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Warren Lamson (1914 - 2008)
Warren C. Lamson, a psychiatric social worker, had several years of experience as a social worker in the military during World War II when he joined the newly established National Institute of Mental Health in 1949 and became the Chief Psychiatric Social Worker for the Community Services Branch. In this position, he was responsible for giving leadership to the development of social work positions and content in the Regional Offices of the Public Health Service and for assisting state mental health programs to develop social work leadership.
Lamson was born in Neligh, Nebraska, received a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Wayne State Teacher's College and a master's degree from the School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska in 1942. His experience as a teacher and athletic coach, as a caseworker with family service, and in the military, along with his midwest background, all contributed to his ability to work effectively with emerging mental health educational programs throughout the country. It was a time when there was emphasis on prevention and community involvement in mental health education.
In the 1960's, Lamson was responsible for NIMH programs concerned with support of in-service training in mental hospitals and other mental health institutions. At the time of his retirement from NIMH in 1974 he was the Chief of the Continuing Education Branch in the Division of Manpower and Training Programs. From 1974 to 1978 he was Chief of the Social Work Programs in the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
He provided leadership to the establishment and development of the Conference of Chief Social Workers from State Mental Health Programs and active in many organizations from 1949 until the early 1980's. He also wrote extensively on the social aspects of community mental health programs, on the development of federal support of community mental health programs, and on mental health as an aspect of public health. He lives in Frederick, Maryland.