Honoring Social Work Heroes: National Association of Social Workers – NJ Chapter Announces Recipients of 2022 Award for Excellence in Social Work

TRENTON, NJ – March is Social Work Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the essential work done by social workers in our state and recognizing the exceptional work and accomplishments of our like-minded friends, colleagues and partners. In keeping with that tradition, today the National Association of Social Workers – NJ Chapter (NASW-NJ) announced the recipients of their 2022 Awards for Social Work Excellence.

Among the recipients honored this year are:

The NASW-NJ Social Worker of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement by a social worker and Association member who has made demonstrable contributions to the social work community, the community at large or to their organization. This year’s recipient, Ms. Lakeesha Eure, LCSW, is director of the Office of Violence Prevention for the City of Newark Department of Health and Community Wellness and longtime chair of the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition. . She is a respected grassroots leader, very committed to reducing violence in the community.

“Ms. Eure is at the forefront of efforts to reinvent public safety and violence prevention in Newark,” said Jennifer Thompson, MSW, executive director of NASW-NJ. “She took her traumatic experiences first-hand with gun violence and murder and has used these events to fuel his passion for change.Since the killing of George Floyd in 2020, public officials, from the President of the United States to local mayors and city councils, named the social work profession as one of the best equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century in public safety and violence prevention.Ms. Eure delivers on the promise of our profession.

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes new social workers and members who have already made significant contributions to the Association and/or the profession and who have demonstrated potential for leadership and continued service. Dr. La’Tesha Sampson, President and Founder of Great Joy Counseling and Consulting Services, is a rapidly rising name in Union County political circles and in the social work profession. She has served as a professor in the Masters of Social Work departments at the University of New England, Rutgers University, and the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and is currently a professor in the Department of Social Work at the Kean University. Dr. La’Tesha is a philanthropist and has collaborated, sponsored and supported many non-profit initiatives around the world, including programs in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Ghana, Mexico and Egypt .

Said Thompson, “Dr. La’Tesha began chairing the Political Action Committee for Candidate Election (PACE) of NASW-NJ for several years and has since grown and expanded her role and reach. She currently serves as a trustee of NASW’s National PACE Committee, helping lead the organization’s presidential and congressional endorsements and influence. I have witnessed firsthand Dr. La’Tesha’s growth as a leader in the community and among social workers and it has been a privilege to work with her.

The Academic of the Year Award recognizes an individual from academia in social work who is a member of the Association and who has made a significant contribution to the world of higher education. The 2022 recipient, Dr Anne Deepak, Associate Professor of Social Work at Monmouth University, is an award-winning scholar whose work focuses on developing and applying a postcolonial feminist social work perspective to global social issues , including food security, human trafficking, humanitarian aid. initiatives for women’s economic empowerment, social work practice with refugees and immigrants, and sustainability and population growth. Her other academic work and interests focus on diversity and anti-racism in social work education and exploring globalization and international partnerships through research on the experiences and impact of international volunteers.

“Dr. Deepak’s work exemplifies what it means to be a social worker and social work educator,” said Thompson. students, broadens their perspectives and encourages them to think about the role of social work in addressing these issues. During his time at Monmouth University, Dr Deepak influenced the education and careers of hundreds of entry-level social workers, preparing them for the work ahead in dealing with some of the most complex issues of our time.

“We are very proud that Dr. Deepak is recognized by NASW-NJ as the Academic of the Year. Anne has made a number of contributions to our school and program, the most recent being her work as co-chair of our Growing Together as Allies committee. This is a group of social work faculty, administrators, students and alumni who are committed to advancing anti-racism in our school, university and community,” said Robin S. Mama, Ph.D., dean of the School of Social Work at Monmouth University, said.

The NASW-NJ Organization of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an organization that serves the community and has made demonstrable contributions to the broader social work community and/or the community as a whole at course of the year. The organization must demonstrate its commitment to the values ​​and ethics of the social work profession and its commitment to advancing the work through partnerships and advocacy.

“We are honored to accept this award from NASW-NJ. The PROUD Center is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment where members of the LGBTQIA+ community are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve,” said said Tony Cava, President and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, “We continue to develop and expand our services to ensure our patients have access to the healthcare services they need at every stage. of their life. “

“We are thrilled to recognize the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center for its ground-breaking work in addressing the unique needs of underserved populations,” said Thompson. “Rather than reducing services in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center has increased its clientele to more than 1,000 people in need. As the LGBTQIA+ community comes under attack in many spaces, the PROUD Hub is leading the charge to ensure they receive the care and support they need to survive and thrive.

Winners will be honored at a reception this afternoon


Founded in 1955, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest organization of professional social workers in the world, with more than 100,000 members. The New Jersey chapter is the second largest chapter in the United States, with over 6,500 members. NASW-NJ strives to enhance the professional growth and development of its members, create and maintain professional standards, and advance sound social policies. Learn more at www.naswnj.org.

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Andrew B. Reiter