NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Jeanette C. Takamura
Jeanette C. Takamura received her MSW from the University of Hawaii in 1972 and her PhD in Social Policy from the Heller School, Brandeis University, in 1985. She also received 3 certificates in Gerontology from the Harvard School of Medicine.
She has been a practicing social worker since 1972 when she first developed programs serving youth and families. Following this she went on to teach social work and medicine, designing interdisciplinary curricula, which were used in the United States and abroad. Dr. Takamura became the Director of the Executive Office on Aging for Hawaii then Chief Operating Officer of the Hawaii State Department of Health.
Following these achievements, Dr. Takamura was appointed Assistant Secretary for Aging in the US Department of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration. After leaving the government she held an endowed chair in gerontology and public service at California State University in Los Angeles before being appointed the first female dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work.
Dr. Takamura has contributed to and participated in numerous national and international conferences and journals. She is well known as an outstanding and innovative leader and thinker in the fields of social policy and educational development. Dr. Takamura says, “I was pleased to initiate innovations in aging policies and programs and am most fascinated with innovation as emergent phenomena in different institutions and systems.” Her depth of knowledge and experience in social work in both the public and private sectors have been positive factors in her ability to encourage fiscal development, translate policies into programs, particularly in the field of gerontology which has lead to the expansion of studies and services in that domain, and in her current role, leading her School into the 21st Century.