NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Ruth Endicott Lewis (1896-1954)
Ruth Lewis contribution to the field of medical social work was impressive both locally and nationwide, through her influence as a teacher, as a developer of field placements of the American Association of Medical Social Workers (AAMSW) and chairperson of the subcommittee on curriculum which prepared Education for Medical Social Work: The Curriculum Content, published in 1951. During the 1940s, she was active in many of the Associations committees, among them, the Committee on Standards, the Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, and others. She was head of the subcommittee, which revised the Essential Elements in Education for Medical Social Workers, which was the guide to the development of the medical social work curriculum in schools of social work.
In the early 1950s, Ms. Lewis served on the committee, which compiled a statement of personnel practices in medical social work and developed procedures for evaluating the work of the national staff of the AAMSW.
She had broad interests in the field of social work and health, serving on advisory committees to the U.S. Childrens Bureau and the National Society for Prevention of Blindness. At one point she was a board member of the American Association of Schools of Social Work and at the time of her death, she was a member of the Advisory Committee on Heart Disease Control of the U.S. Public Health Service.
Miss Lewis state of residence was St. Louis at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work in Washington University. However, her influence extended throughout the nation.
While she contributed to the field of social work throughout her professional career, it was during her teaching period that she took on the greatest influential responsibilities. As was stated in her Memoriam, Time has revealed the steady unfolding of Ruth Lewis personal and professional worth.
Social Work Pioneer - 1997