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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Doris Siegel* (1914-1971)

Doris Siegel concentrated her pioneering efforts in the areas of social work administration, education, and public health. Siegel was deeply involved and committed to bridging the gap between health care administration and the general public. After completing her Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree at Simmons College in 1935 and 1936 respectively, Siegel began her social work career as a Caseworker and Supervisor at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1940-1945 Siegel was the Director of the Social Service Department at Montefiore Hospital in Pennsylvania. She was instrumental in the reorganization of the Social Service Department into a professional service which benefitted the community and social work students in training programs.

In 1945, Siegel moved to Washington, D.C. and continued her career as a Medical Social Consultant and Educational Consultant at the Children's Bureau of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) until 1954. From 1954 until her death, Siegel was the Director of the Social Service Department at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She concentrated her efforts in the areas of staff and program development and participation in educational programs for social work students. Siegel taught several courses at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine from 1968-1971. In addition, she conducted teaching workshops and training institutes for the staff at the State Health Department, students at schools of social work, and educational activities sponsored by the professional associations.

Siegel was a member of several professional associations and committees including the New York Heart Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Journal of Education for Social Work, and the American Public Health Association. She was the recipient of the Simmons College Alumnae Achievement Award in 1970 and received an Honorable Mention Award from the National Conference of Jewish Communal Service in 1961. She has published several articles which have appeared in The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, and 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.