NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Pioneering Contributions: James Martin has committed his professional life to serving the needs of military members, veterans, and their families. Over a 46-year career, first as a Uniformed Social Worker and then as Social Work Academic, Martin has been a tireless champion for solutions to the many challenges associated with military service. He has demonstrated the ability to conceptualize social problems and has been able to apply them to a broad range of policies that have helped military members, Veterans, and their families. An accomplished academic with 22 years of research and teaching Professor Martin has helped to educate multiple generations of Clinical Social Workers, and launched the careers of numerous Social Work scholars, including many who are in the current generation of military family scholars. As a subject matter expert Martin has served the Department of Defense leadership as well as each of the service components. He has been a frequent consultant to numerous federal, state, and non-profit policy, program, and research initiatives involving military and Veteran issues. Research co-directed by Martin resulted in the U.S. Air Force adopting a community capacity model for their worldwide application of human services. Martin helped develop two Army Chief of Staff’s White Papers on Army Families and worked with the Navy’s leadership to retool their family support programs. He was a member of a senior Chief of Naval Operations study team that helped expand career roles for woman on board Naval ships. His testimony on the mental health needs of Persian Gulf War veterans before The President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors represented one of many important contributions to the Department of Veterans Affairs efforts to respond to the needs of 9/11 era Veterans.
Career Highlights: A retired Army Colonel, Martin spent 26 years in the Army Medical Department. While serving as the Commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Unit-Europe, the Secretary of Defense deployed Martin to the Persian Gulf Region as a member of a three-person scientific fact-finding team sent to assess stress factors impacting units and personnel being staged in harsh desert locations. This Team’s recommendations helped develop the combat theater deployment strategy for the First Gulf War. Martin served as the senior Social Work Officer in the Gulf War combat theater, including service during initial invasion of Iraq as a member of a mental health team with the Army’s Second Armored Calvary Regiment. Martin served in the Pentagon as the Senior Medical Advisor to the Army’s Director of Science and Technology where he helped establish the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. As the senior Pentagon representative for the Army Surgeon General, Martin was instrumental in obtaining funding approval for the Daniel K. Inouye Building at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Silver Spring, Maryland. WRAIR is considered the most diverse biomedical research lab in the Department of Defense, and is home to the Army’s Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience Research. Martin’s public service includes his appointment in 2009 by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley to Maryland's Veterans Behavioral Health Advisory Committee; participation on the Maryland Military Child Education Coalition Steering Committee; the Council on Social Work Education Veterans’ Mental Health Taskforce and the Board of Directors for the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. Martin was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Clinical Social Work.
Biographic Data: Martin received his BS in Sociology in 1968 from St. John’s University in Minnesota, his MSW from Boston College in 1970, and his PhD in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1983. He is a 1974 graduate of the Army’s Child and Family Studies Fellowship Program at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center; a 1981 graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College; and a 1988 graduate of the Army Management Staff College.
Significant Achievements & Awards Received: In 2009 Bryn Mawr College awarded Martin the prestigious McPherson Fellowship for excellence in teaching, research, and service to the community. Martin received the Legion of Merit, four Meritorious Service Medals, and two Army Commendation Medals. Martin was awarded the prestigious Army Surgeon General’s "A" designator for his professional Social Work achievements and was the only Uniformed Social Work Officer to also obtain the Surgeon General’s “8Z” skill identifier signifying his medical research achievements. Martin holds membership in the Order of Military Medical Merit. Martin was the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work 2014 Distinguished Alumni for Social Work Practice and the 2015 Distinguished Alumni from Boston College School of Social Work.
Selected Significant Publications: Bowen, G. L., Jensen, T.A., Martin, J. A., & Mancini, J. A. (2016) 57:203–215. The Willingness of Military Members to Seek Help: The Role of Social Involvement and Social Responsibility. The American Journal of Community Psychology.
Martin, J.A., & Sherman, M.D. (2012). Understanding the Effects of Military Life and Deployment on Couples and Families. In D. K. Snyder and C. M. Monson (Eds.), Couple-Based Interventions for Military and Veteran Families: Promoting Individual and Relationship Well-Being. (Pp.: 13-31). New York: Guilford.
Bowen, G.L., & Martin, J. A. (2011). The Resiliency Model of Role Performance for Service Members, Veterans, and their Families: A Focus on Social Connections and Individual Assets. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 21(02), pp. 162 - 178.
Martin, J. A., Forgey, M.A., Harris, J.J., & Walker, C. (2009). White Paper: Military and veteran family behavioral health and relationship issues. For: Military & Veterans Joint Taskforce, Council on Social Work Education.
Bowen, G.L., Martin, J.A., Mancini, J.A., & Nelson, J.P. (2001). Civic Engagement and Sense of Community in the Military. Journal of Community Practice, Vol. 9(2), pp. 71-93.