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Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement
Award Winners

2014 Sol Gothard Lifetime Achievement Award – Patricia Brownell, PhD


Patricia Brownell, PhD, LMSW, received the Sol Gothard Award at the 31st Annual Conference, for her contributions to the forensic social work profession.

The award was presented by Sol Gothard, Saturday, July 26, 2014 at Fordham University in New York City.

Dr. Brownell worked at the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) for 26 years.  She served in a variety of positions at HRA including: senior planner, executive assistant, and director for many programs and projects in the fields of child welfare, domestic violence, home care, the entitlements, and public welfare.

After a successful career in public services, Dr. Brownell pursued a doctorate at Fordham University with a specialization in gerontology. Her dissertation on elder abuse involved collaboration with the NYPD and the criminal justice system to identify the type and extent of elder abuse in New York City.

Since graduating with her doctorate, Dr. Brownell began a very successful career as a social work educator. First appointed as an assistant Professor and then promoted to the rank of Associate, As a Hartford Fellow, Dr. Brownell has been instrumental in conducting original research in the area of elder abuse, as well as educating many social work students about gerontological social work.

In her career as a social work educator, she has continued her pioneering work in the area of elder abuse, as well as public sector social work. Her landmark dissertation on elder abuse has been published as a book, Family Crimes against the Elderly: A Study of Elder Abuse and the Criminal Justice System.  Dr. Brownell was also instrumental in founding the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and has been very active in advancing knowledge about elder abuse and gerontology at the United Nations. Dr. Brownell has never forgotten the importance of professionalizing public sector workers and successfully applied for and serves as the Principal Investigator for the Practicum Partnership Program funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation with the New York Academy of Medicine. This program provides the opportunity for public sector employees to pursue graduate social work degrees.

She has published two books, twelve journal articles and 21 book chapters. In this way, she has sought to disseminate her pioneering research findings and advocacy work in the areas of elder abuse and public sector social work to an even larger audience of social workers and others in the social service field.

This is the highest award bestowed upon an individual by the NOFSW. It is presented to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the forensic social work profession, public welfare, and humankind. 

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