Sarah Gehlert, the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Racial and Ethnic Diversity at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, was inducted Jan. 13 as president of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) during a Society for Social Work and Research conference in New Orleans.
Gehlert is also a scholar in the university’s Institute for Public Health, a professor in the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine and co-chair of the Prevention and Control Program at Siteman Cancer Center. Her research focuses on social influences on health, especially the health of vulnerable populations.
The AASWSW is a society of 115 distinguished scholars, practitioners and policymakers dedicated to achieving excellence in social work and social welfare through high-impact work that advances social good. The academy, founded in 2009 and based since then at the University of Maryland, has moved its main office to the Brown School.
Gehlert said housing the academy “will shed a lot of light on the school and the university,” where national attention will focus on the work of the academy, including the Grand Challenges for Social Work announced in 2014. Gehlert said she hopes to bring together thought leaders and practitioners from a variety of disciplines.
“The academy is a way of bringing together the best of social work and social welfare, a good way of uniting like-minded people to address the large questions that are facing the country,” she said. “As we become aware of issues, we find appropriate ways to help.”