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.

Skip Navigation Links
Carlton Munson

Throughout his professional career of more than 40 years, Dr. Carlton Munson has served as a model of excellence in the social work profession. He has made outstanding contributions to social work practice, social work education, and social work research in health and mental health. As a Professor in the School of Social Work, University of Maryland at Baltimore, Dr. Munson has taught social work practice at the BSW, MSW and Doctoral levels.  

He also served for seven years as Director of the University of Maryland School of Social Work Doctoral Program and Chaired Doctoral Dissertation Research on social work practice issues. His academic career has included faculty appointments at Shepherd University, Catholic University of America, University of Houston, and Fordham University. His research interests center on trauma and loss in children, international child abduction, social work supervision practice, trends in social work practice, student and practitioner stress reactions, and trends in social work education curriculum design. 

In addition to being a distinguished educator, Dr. Munson has made contributions to clinical social work practice and the social work profession in the federal and state court systems. His participation as a clinical expert witness and consultant in two State of Maryland Court of Appeals child welfare cases established the right of clinical social workers to make DSM-IV-TR diagnoses, to testify as expert witnesses, and to testify to ultimate issues. These are accomplishments of national historic importance for the social work profession, and the Maryland Court of Appeals’ opinion in Dr. Munson’s case affirmed and established the credentials of clinical social workers at the state and national levels.  

His clinical expertise, especially as it relates to children, has led to him being a nationally-recognized expert witness on matters connected with mental health and domestic and international child abduction. Dr. Munson has extensive experience in international child abduction cases and has provided clinical services and expert testimony in cases from 14 countries. He remains active in clinical practice. He has served as Clinical Social Worker and as Clinical Consultant to practitioners, mental health agencies, and departments of social services at state, county, and local department levels. He also has conducted a private practice specializing in the evaluation and treatment of traumatized children and their families. 

Dr. Munson received his MSW and PhD degrees from the University of Maryland. A prolific writer, his published books and articles include: Clear and Convincing Evidence: A Handbook of Expert Witness Testimony; Shakespeare’s Sister: Treatment of Childhood Trauma (2009); Handbook of Clinical Social Work Supervision (3rd edition); Mental Health Diagnostic Desk Reference, Visual Guides and More for Learning to Use the DSM-IV-TR. His book, Social Work Supervision: Classic Statements and Critical Issues, is a widely used supervision textbook published in 1979 and remains in print.

Dr. Munson’s contributions to clinical practice in mental health have been recognized by a number of outstanding awards: the American Society of Psychoanalytic Physicians Dr. Henry P. & Page Laughlin Award as Distinguished Teacher; the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence Education Achievement Award; and the Maryland Society for Clinical Work, Social Work Educator of the Year. He has been a member of NASW for more than 40 years, has served on the Editorial Review Board of NASW’s Social Work Dictionary, and he serves  as Chairperson of the Professional Standards Committee, NASW Maryland Chapter.  

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.