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 © 2019 National Association of Social Workers Foundation. All Rights Reserved.

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Wayne D. Duehn Photo
Wayne D. Duehn

Pioneering Contributions

Wayne D. Duehn, PhD, ACSW, LCSW, is Professor Emeritus at the School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). He is recognized for his research on sexuality, evidence-based practice, trauma informed care, sexual safety innovations in adoption and foster care, and for setting new standards of assessment for child abuse offenders, and treatment for victims, in civilian and military settings.

As a Professor in the School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Arlington, Duehn's signature contributions were his early teaching, research, and social work curriculum building in human sexuality following a research-clinical doctoral internship at the Masters & Johnson Institute in St. Louis. His research and teaching methods, early in his career, marked a new path for the social work profession. His numerous contributions in prestigious journals and research with social work colleagues in the field of sexuality contributed new knowledge to students and seasoned professionals.

Duehn's investigation and interventions into human sexuality, child sexual abuse, child welfare investigation, and mental health treatment were areas of social service that was then new and unexplored. Duehn created a vision and passion for changing the field and community with respect to understanding child sexual abuse. He was a global leader and innovator in the area of sexual treatment, addressing past sexual abuse and sexual safety issues in adoption and foster care and developing standards of care and assessment for offender treatment. Wayne Duehn was and is an exemplary educator, practitioner and researcher.

Career Highlights

As the first chair of the direct practice sequence and chair of the committee on graduate studies in UTA's School of Social Work, Duehn laid the foundations and shaped the direction of the curriculum in the School. He has educated and influenced generations of social workers, and was always highly regarded by students, having received the Torgerson Award for excellence in teaching, four times.

His scholarship was consistently innovative: He incorporated into the social work curriculum material from the sexual revolution in the 1970s led by Masters and Johnson; he developed two specialization courses for graduate students in the area of social work practice in human sexuality and the treatment of the sexually abused child; he took an evidence-based approach to direct practice at a time when this was not the norm in the profession; and he conducted outstanding research on interpersonal communication and outcome effectiveness of training in direct practice, work which gained him a national reputation and helped place the new School of Social Work on the map.

Reflective of his eminence as a scholar-practitioner, his research has been applied in training human services agency staff throughout the region, the nation, and the world. Duehn's consulting and teaching/workshop presentations are still operational worldwide. His more than 900 presentations, keynote conference presentations, seminars, institutes and agency workshops on child sexual abuse and child welfare are in themselves an outstanding achievement and attest to the confidence the field of child welfare in general and child maltreatment more specifically continues to have in Duehn's competence and capacity at finding ways to keep children and families safer. Through his extensive professional travel, Duehn has exerted significant influence within the profession.

Of particular significance is Duehn's longstanding relationship with the military communities (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines & Navy), spanning from the mid 1980s to the present, with respect to identifying and responding to child sexual abuse, developing sexual abuse investigative protocols and the assessment of offenders all of which attests to the relevance of the concern at the federal level. Furthermore, Duehn developed a child abuse prevention program for the Department of Defense Dependents School (DoDDS) which was implemented world-wide. It is this work in identifying child sexual abuse and its offenders and the prevention of sexual abuse that is his most remarkable legacy. Perhaps Duehn's most important achievement and contribution to the social work field and to the impact of practice has been in relation to human sexuality and child sexual abuse. His early career in teaching and research related to human sexuality marked a new path in which the profession could move.

Biographical Data

Wayne Duehn is currently Professor Emeritus with the School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Arlington. He joined the UTA School of Social Work faculty in 1970 as an Associate Professor and Chair of the Direct Practice Sequence and retired with distinction in 2008 as Full Professor. Later that year, for Duehn's "long, outstanding and meritorious service," the faculty of The University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas Board of Regents awarded him the title of Professor Emeritus. Wayne Duehn is a graduate of North Central College, Naperville, IL (BA), Loyola University, Chicago (MSW) and Washington University in St. Louis where he completed his PhD in Social Work/Psychology in 1970.

Significant Achievements and Awards

Duehn's lifelong contribution to social work learning has been recognized throughout the profession and beyond. This has included the Lifetime Achievement Award NASW - North Texas 2010 as well as Extraordinary Alumni - Loyola University (2010) and Outstanding Alumni "Wall of Witness" Award - North Central College (2012).

The outcome of his long classroom and teaching contributions may be seen in his numerous honors and recognitions over his career. In 1969 he was first awarded with a "career teaching award" from NIMH. In addition, Duehn has been the recipient of the UTA School of Social Work's Fernando Torgerson award for teaching excellence four times (1989, 1998, 2000, 2003). He has been honored as a distinguished teaching scholar with the military (1987, 1990-twice) and on numerous occasions has been included in Who's Who in American Education.

Significant Publications

His early contributions in journals (Administration in Social Work, International Journal of Counseling Training, Journal of Education for Social Work, Journal of Homosexuality, Journal of Marrage and Family Counseling, Journal of Orthopsychiatry, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, Journal of Social Service Research & Social Casework), recognition in the International Who's Who in Sexology (1986) and with early social work researchers in the field of sexuality (H. Gochros, S.P. Schinke) marked an important transition for his disseminating new knowledge for students and seasoned professionals.

The early publications Duehn authored (1981, 1982, 1990) marked his transition to a narrowed and definitive area of concern. His investigation into child sexual abuse, child welfare investigations and treatment defined the next 30 years as areas of excellence and in areas of social service that in those early years were new and unexplored.

Newly Inducted NASW Social Work Pioneer Hortense McClinton 2015

Nominate A New NASW Pioneer

Completed NASW Pioneer nominations can be submitted throughout the year and are reviewed at the June 2021 Pioneer Steering Committee Meeting. To be considered at the June meeting, submit your nomination package by March 31, 2021. To learn more, visit our Pioneer nomination guidelines.

New Pioneers 

In 2020, 16 new Pioneers have been inducted.