NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Jeanette Polito (1927 - 2014)
Jeanette Polito was a leader in providing clinical social work for many years and was an influential mentor to students in various mental health fields. She was only the third social worker hired at the El Paso Child Guidance Center in 1960 and was the first MSW in El Paso.
Early in her career Polito developed an innovative team of specialists to serve patients with severe head trauma or spinal cord injuries in North Carolina. She spearheaded the development of certification requirements that led to improvements in the field.
Jeanette Polito was the clinical director at the El Paso Child Guidance Center for 29 years.
Prior to that, she worked as a social worker at Duke Medical School from 1952 to 1954 and at Greater Lawrence Guidance Center in Massachusetts from 1958 to 1960.
After retiring from the Child Guidance Center, Polito worked with Help Resources Group in El Paso, leaving the director position in 1997. Polito worked part-time at Family Service of El Paso until 2010. She remained in private practice until her death.
Jeanette Polito earned her MSW from Boston College School of Social Work in 1951. She received her BA from Marycrest International University (now closed) in 1949.
She participated in a two-year training program on mental health consultation at Harvard’s School of Public Health.
Significant Achievements and Awards
1987: Elected Social Worker of the Year by NASW, El Paso Chapter.