NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Janet B. W.Williams
Dr. Janet B. W. Williams is an outstanding social worker whose accomplishments over a 30 year period are extraordinary in her unique service to the social work profession and the. broad field of mental health practice and research. She received a B.S. in psychology in 1969 from Jackson College of Tufts University; an M.S. in marine biology from Southeastern Massachusetts University in 1972. an M.S in social work in 1974 from Columbia University School of Social Work, and her D.S.W in social welfare from Cal University School of Social Work.
Dr. Williams has demonstrated in her lengthy career the unique value of the social work research perspective in the field of mental health often dominated by other professional groups. Her accomplishments in contributing to the profession of social work through the founding of the Society for Social Work and Research as well as extensive service in Social Work editorial boards and the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research indicate her deep commitment to her social work roots.
Dr. Williams "was given the Knee/Wittman Award in 2005 for "dedication and commitment to mental health services research and to bridging social work research and practice." In a release to the press it was noted that "Since 1975, she has helped lead the development of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals (DSM), one of the most widely used and taught diagnostic tools in social work education. Dr. Williams used her expertise in classification from the DSM to conduct field trials of the Person-in-Environment (PIE) system that focuses specifically on those aspects of the environment and psychosocial functioning that are of most interest to social workers. Dr. Williams co-edited a groundbreaking and widely used book, published by the NASW Press, entitled Advances in Mental Health Research: Implications for Practice. In 1994, she founded the Society for Social Work Research, a group advocating for the social work academic community, and served as President for the first two formative years. She has served on many task forces and committees, including the Vice Presidency of the Institute for the Advancement of Social Work Research (IASWR). She has also served on the editorial boards of several journal and publications, including Research and Social Work Practice and the Social Work Dictionary."
Currently, Dr. Williams is Professor of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Research Scientist and Deputy Chief of the Biometrics Research Department at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Her career has focused on the development of psychiatric classifications and instruments to measure psychopathology, and she is well known for her interview guides for the DSM, and for the Hamilton Rating Scales and the Montgomery and Asberg Depression Rating Scale. She was the only social worker consistently involved in the development of DSM-III, DSM-III-R, and DSM-IV and was made an Honorary Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association for her contributions. She collaborated on the development and testing of the PRIME-MD, an interview guide designed to help primary care physicians make mental disorder diagnoses, and its self-report version, the PHQ, now widely used in primary care.
Dr. Williams is the author of many rating instruments and interview guides and more than 230 scholarly publications. She serves on the editorial boards of several psychiatric and social work journals and is an active consultant to clinical trials on depression and Dr. Williams holds a BS in biology from Tufts University, and MS in marine biology from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and an MS and DSW in social welfare from the Columbia University School of Social Work. In 1994, Dr. Williams founded the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR, now with more than 1,300 members) and served as its President for 2 years. She has been inducted into the Columbia University School of Social Work Alumni Association Hall of Fame. In 2000 she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from SSWR, and as noted, the Knee/Wittman award from NASW in 2005.