NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Mila Ruiz Tecala
Mila Ruiz Tecala was born in Cebu, Philippines. She was a naturalized U.S, Citizen. She received an A.A. from Graceland College, Lamoni, Iowa; took some credits at Berea College, Berea, Kentucky; received a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology at the University of Michigan, Flint, Michigan; and her MSW from the University Of Michigan School Of Social Work in 1966. Before starting a private practice as a therapist and consultant she was a social worker at the Lapeer State Home and Training, Lapeert, Michigan; clinical social worker at the Children’s Convalescent Hospital Washington, D.C.; a clinical social worker at Georgetown University Washington D.C.; and Clinical Director at the St. Francis Institute: Center for Life Threatening Illnesses, Washington, D.C.
She was recommended as a NASW Pioneer because of her expertise in the areas of thanatology, bereavement, and loss and grief. She was known nationally and internationally for her pioneering work as a clinical social worker, educator, and administrator. She was a co-author of a book entitled "Grief and Loss: Identifying Damages in Wrongful Death Cases." Her co-author Robert T. Hall is a lawyer and the book is primarily written for lawyers.
Ms. Tecala was a private practitioner and consultant. As a clinician, she developed an exceptional practice by helping people rebuild their lives after experiencing the death of a loved one. As a consultant, she served as senior advisor to the United States Peace Corps in the Philippines, Thailand, Togo, Ecuador, Honduras, and Paraguay.
In 1999, she was selected as one of the top psychotherapists in the metropolitan Washington, DC area by Washingtonian magazine. She was a regular guest on local, regional, and national radio and television programs representing the social work profession. In addition, she was sought to comment on a variety of social work and medical issues for the general public, including understanding grief, coping with death and dying, living with cancer, and violence issues.
Within NASW, she has worked to advance the profession and promote the image of social work. On the national level, she has served as Chair of NASW's Clinical Social Work Committee and Peace and Justice Committee. On the chapter level, she was a past President of the Metro Washington, DC Chapter.