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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Jeane Anastas Photo
Jeane Anastas

Pioneering Contributions

Jeane Anastas, PhD, MSW, has made major contributions to social work practice and education as a social work leader, administrator, researcher, teacher, and author. She is well known nationally and internationally as a feminist scholar. Her interest and work in this area began in the early 1970s when she became committed to feminism and engaged in consciousness-raising and social action that was community-based. She has continued to conduct research and write on a wide range of women's issues over the years. Dr. Anastas also has published books on diverse topics such as doctoral education, teaching, research, women, and LGBT issues.

While President of NASW, she led the organization through innovative and challenging times. Previously she served as President of the Massachusetts Chapter. In addition, she has held a number of leadership positions in social work organizations including the Society for Social Work and Research and GADE, the Association for Social Work Doctoral Directors.

Career Highlights

After receiving her Master's Degree from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work, Dr. Anastas first worked as a research consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health at Brandeis University, followed by Simmons College School of Social Work. She started teaching first at Boston University, then Simmons and then Smith College School of Social Work where she headed the Doctoral Program. After moving to New York City to assume a faculty position as Professor at the New York University (NYU) Silver School of Social Work, she subsequently served as Director of the Doctoral program, Associate Academic Dean, and most recently as Director of Strategic Planning and New Initiatives at the New York University Silver School of Social Work. Anastas was a member, Board of Directors, NASW Foundation from 2010-2014.

Biographical Data

Dr. Anastas was born in Boston, Massachusetts and received her undergraduate Bachelor Degree in Social Work from Boston University where she was summa cum laude. At Boston College School of Social Work she pursued her Masters in Social Work where she focused on research. Dr. Anastas entered the Doctoral Program at Brandeis where she received a PhD in Social Welfare Policy. Her first academic position post PhD was as Professor and then head of the Doctoral Program at Smith and subsequently she moved to New York City to assume an academic position at NYU Silver School of Social Work.

Significant Achievements and Awards

Dr. Anastas has received numerous awards during her career. Her university, professional, and national awards included the Feminist Scholar Award from the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Council, Distinguished Teaching Medal, from New York University, Greatest Recent Contribution to Social Work Education from CSWE, Distinguished Scholar from the National Academies of Practice, Social Work Visiting Scholar from the Council on Social Work Education, the Arnold Grossman Award for the Greatest Faculty/Staff Service to LGBT Community from the Center for LGBT Student Services at New York University, Social Worker of the Year from the Massachusetts Chapter, NASW, Visiting Research Scholar from the Wellesley Center for Research on Women, Alpha Sigma Nu (National Jesuit Honor Society), and Harold C. Case Scholar from Boston University.

Significant Publications

Dr. Anastas is an accomplished author and has published six books and more than 30 articles and book chapters on health issues, diversity, social work education, family service, LGBT issues, and gender differences. Among them:

  • "Doctoral education in social work" ;
  • "Teaching in social work: An educator's guide to theory and practice";
  • "Research design for social work and the human services";
  • "Not just a passing phase: Social work with gay, lesbian and bisexual people";
  • "Research design for social work and the human services."

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.