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NASW Social Work Pioneers®

 

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René J. Robichaux, PhD, MSW

 

Specific Pioneer Qualifications
Dr. René Robichaux is a renowned social work leader in the U.S. Army whose family advocacy programs were designed to help military families effectively navigate the health care system. This work, and his methods for handling mental health trauma, were ground-breaking.

Robichaux is an acknowledged pioneer in the Family Advocacy Program that developed worldwide family violence prevention and treatment for military service members and their families, establishing practice guidelines and securing funding to implement model treatment programs. He established training programs in the field of child abuse that social workers are still required to complete.

Career Highlights
As a social work leader for 35 years, Robichaux has been called “the grandfather of family advocacy programs” in the U.S. Army. His expert knowledge and leadership in the field of family violence was key to the development and implementation of the U.S. Army's Family Advocacy Program. His early background in family therapy, child development and staff-training paved the way for him to create assessment criteria for the U.S. Army's Family Advocacy Staff Training Course (FAST). He continues to teach FAST courses, 30 years after the program's creation.

Robichaux began his professional career in the field of child protection. He served as the program director for staff training at Harris County Child Protective Services (CPS) for several years, where he designed advanced training courses for case workers and supervisors.

Robichaux began his military career in 1979 and reached the rank of Colonel. Upon his retirement, Robichaux became the Chief of Social Work Programs for the U.S. Army. He was responsible for the development of the clinical aspects of the family advocacy program, marriage and family services, the Care Managers Services, the Warrior Transition Social Workers, and Medical Social Work programs. He helped develop a web-based tool for Behaviorial Health Risk Management at remote locations. Also, he headed the development of the Family Advocacy System of Records and the Decision Tree Algorithm (DTA), which standardized the diagnosis of child and intimate partner incidents of abuse across the U.S. Army.

His leadership positions have included: Chief of Social Work at Landstuhl Regional Army Medical Center, Germany; Deputy Chief of Social Work at Brooke Army Medical Center; Chief of the Soldier and Family Support Branch at the Army Medical Department Center and School; Chief of the Behavioral Health Division at the U.S. Army Medical Command; Chief of the Social Work Department at Brooke Army Medical Center.

In these roles, he led child sexual abuse investigations, provided legal testimony to military courts, conducted psychological assessments of wounded soldiers, and provided social work counseling services for trauma patients and burn patients.

Biographical Data
A member of NASW since 1976, Robichaux received his MSW from the University of Houston School of Social Work in 1973 and his PhD in social work from The Catholic University School of Social Services. His academic work continued with a fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he studied child and family studies.

He is a published author, accomplished trainer, and university instructor at both the School of Social Work at Texas State University and Our Lady of the Lake School of Social Work. He has advocated for wounded soldiers and their families as well as children impacted by their parents' deployment.

Significant Achievements and Awards
Among Robichaux's military awards are: Expert Field Medical Badge (1980), U.S. Army Medical Department; Meritorious Service Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters (1982, 1988, 1992, 1995, 2002); Legion of Merit (2003); and the Order of Military Medical Merit (2000).

Significant Publications
Robichaux is a published author of numerous publications and book chapters on issues related to family violence and the impact of trauma on the individual.

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