NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Juan Ramos, Ph.D.
Juan Ramos has been a leader in mental health research since 1986. His vitae shows the number and initiatives in research. What it does not show is that throughout his outstanding career he has been a practicing social worker as well as a scholar. In that role, he consciously worked with the leadership of NASW and CSWE to advance the priorities of the profession.
An example of his understated but persistent and effectual work is what is referred to as the Social Work Research Initiative. It was Juan's dedication and skill that moved the effort initiated by NASW President, Suzanne Dworak-Peck to get NIMH to allocate fiscal support for Social Work Research Centers at five universities. That initiative also resulted in seed money for the creation of a central organization to continue to work to advance social work research nationally. The point is that he willingly risked himself in his role relationship with the then Director of NIMH to make sure that this landmark project was successfully achieved. At no time did he seek or receive personal recognition for his efforts. In fact, the profession owes him a debt of gratitude.
One other comment must be made. Because of the way he worked, the cause of social work and minority professionals in NIMH was advanced without contention. As a result of some of his efforts, minority social work professionals were added to research panels and project grants were broadened to include Social Work Schools.
Finally, somehow he managed to work successfully within a bureaucracy that was not particularly receptive to Ph.D. level social work professionals or to Latinos. He was a pioneer in relating research 1:0 practice, in getting social work research accepted in NIMH and in getting NIMH to invest in building the research capacity of the profession.