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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Roberta Rubin Greene Photo
Roberta Rubin Greene

Roberta Rubin Greene, PhD, MSW, could be described as a gerontological social worker, and has devoted a major portion of her formidable energy, and conceptual ability, to strengthening the field of practice. Her efforts reflect a remarkable and effective unification of practice, advocacy, research, and education - a holistic approach that has provided key building blocks for the profession's advancement.

She received a BA Degree with a Sociology Major in 1960 at Michigan State University, an MSW Degree in Social Work from Michigan State University, and a PhD in Human Development from the University of Maryland. Her academic career has included several positions at the University of Maryland School of Social Work; Field Instructor for the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, New York; Adjunct Professor for Virginia Commonwealth University Graduate School of Social Work; Assistant Professor, George Mason University, Department of Social Work; Professor and Dean, School of Social Work, Indiana University; and the University of Texas-Austin, School of Social Work.

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.