NASW Pioneers Biography Index

The National Association of Social Workers Foundation is pleased to present the NASW Social Work Pioneers®. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers. Some are well known, while others are less famous outside their immediate colleagues, and the region where they live and work. But each one has made an important contribution to the social work profession, and to social policies through service, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, or legislation.

The NASW Pioneers have paved the way for thousands of other social workers to contribute to the betterment of the human condition; and they are are role models for future generations of social workers. The NASW Foundation has made every effort to provide accurate Pioneer biographies.  Please contact us at to provide missing information, or to correct inaccurate information. It is very important to us to correctly tell these important stories and preserve our history.  

Please note, an asterisk attached to a name reflects Pioneers who have passed away. All NASW Social Work Pioneers® Bios are Copyright © 2021 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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 Hans S. Falck Photo
Hans S. Falck (1949- )

Dr. Hans S. Falck was born in Hamburg, Germany. In 1949, Mr. Falck received his Bachelor of Arts from Case Western Reserve University. He received his Master of Arts from Syracuse University in 1950, and his Master of Social Work in 1953 from the University of Buffalo. In 1960, he received his Doctor of Philosophy from Syracuse University. His field of special interest included Health Social Work, Medical Sociology, Philosophy of Science, problems of individualism, socialization, and group formation. The relationship between psychoanalytic theory and social science theory, e.g., object- relations theory and social interaction. Small group and organization theory, social group work and social casework, social work in mental health.

Dr. Falck was a past Chapter President of NASW St. Louis and a founder of the Virginia Organization of Health Care Social Workers. In addition to serving on the Boards of Directors for 10 organizations in five states, Dr. Hans Falck, Professor Emeritus of the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University is extremely active and involved along with appointment to 15 committees, including President of the University Senate and School of Social Work Chair of Student Affairs Committee, Health Specialization Committee, and Faculty Affairs Committee. He was also President of the School of Social Work Faculty Association.

Dr. Falck was recognized in 1984 for contributions in which he received the highest honor bestowed by the Council on Social Work Education. He also was given a citation of appreciation for his record of exceptional service in social work education and for his contributions as Editor (1978-1984) of the Journal of Education for Social Work. The Virginia Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers and the Virginia Association for Social Work with Groups recognized him with an award in 1986 for "Outstanding Contributions to Social Work with Groups."

In 1993, Dr. Falck was awarded the Richard Lodge Prize by Adelphi University in recognition for his valuable contributions to social work theory through his research, writing and teaching. Author of Social Work: The Membership Perspective, Dr. Falck's greatest contribution to the field has been his development of the 'Membership Theory" and his study of its implications and consequences for social work practice. Internationally recognized, Dr. Falck is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health of Great Britain and has served the international profession community through his many research presentations and professional consultations abroad.

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Please note, Pioneer nominations made between today’s date through March 31, 2023, will not be reviewed until spring 2023.

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.

New Pioneers 

Congratulations newly elected Pioneers!  Pioneers will be inducted at the 2023  Annual Program and Luncheon. Full biographies and event details coming soon.