NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
John Myron Rockmore (1913- )
John Rockmore has had an outstanding career in which he developed psychiatric social work practice as a component of World War II and post-World War II mental health programs. Rockmore received his bachelor's degree from St. Johns University in 1936; his master's degree in education from St. Lawrence University in 1937; and a diploma from the New York School of Social Work in 1939. He worked in the New York Department of Social Welfare from 1935 to 1940 and then in the Board of Education Bureau of Child Guidance from 1940 to 1941. With World War II he became the chief of military psychiatric social work in the U.S. Army's first mental hygiene unit. He was decorated with the Legion of Merit for his social work efforts.
After the war, he became a consultant to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army and was influential in determining policies for the expansion of military social work programs. He also became chief psychiatric social worker with the New York Psychoanalytic Institute (1946 to 1952) were he worked closely with Dr. Marion Kenworthy, a psychiatrist noted for her contribution to social work education. During this same period, 1946-1952, he was a consultant to the Group for Advancement of Psychiatry, which developed concepts of community psychiatry and interdisciplinary teamwork. From 1954 until 1977, he served as the first director of psychiatric social work for the Connecticut Department of Mental Hygiene.
Rockmore was the first social worker to chair the program committee of the American OrthoPsychiatric Association. He also served on the executive committee of the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers (AAPSW). As chair of the AAPSW Research Study Committee, he had oversight of an National Institute of Mental Health funded study of psychiatric social work practice. He was Chair of the NASW Council of Social Workers in Mental Health and Psychiatric Services in 1966. The author of numerous papers and chapters, he currently resides in Hartford, Connecticut, and continues his interest in professional organizations and the current developments in psychiatric social work practice.