The NASW Social Work Pioneer Program was created to honor members of the social work profession who have contributed to the evolution and enrichment of the profession. The Pioneer Program recognizes individuals whose unique dedication, commitment and determination have improved social and human conditions. Salome Raheim, PhD, ACSW, Dean and ProfessorPioneers are role models for future generations of social workers. Their contributions are reflected in every aspect of the profession, as well as in the establishment of social policies and human services programs. They have accomplished this through practice, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, advocacy, legislation, and election to public office.

Dr. Raheim is Dean and Professor at the UConn School of Social Work, the first African-American to be appointed as dean. Her passion for creating more just organizations and communities has taken her across the United States and four continents to provide training and consultation to schools, universities, human service organizations and businesses on how to create welcoming and inclusive environments. She holds several national leadership positions, including National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work Board of Directors, Council on Social Work Education National Nominating Committee, and Corporate Board of Directors, Women and Social Work, Inc., sponsor of the Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work. In addition, she is a New York Academy of Medicine Leadership in Aging Academy Fellow.

In 2013, Dean Raheim was one of 150 leading social work educators from across the country who attended a White House briefing on the expanding role of social work in today’s changing health care environment, focusing on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She has had an impact on cultural competence of faculty, staff and administration at UConn by leading an initiative in that area, which has affected students as well, over 100 of whom have posted personal pledges to make the School a welcoming, inclusive and just community. At the University of Iowa, where she was director of the School of Social Work, she was responsible for increasing the number of faculty of color where no such faculty had been hired for the previous ten years. The Cultural Competence Initiative, which she led, enhanced diversity within the university and resulted in a 2002 Catalyst Award, given for innovative programs, policies and activities that enhance diversity within the university. She has presented her original diversity and cultural competence training in Australia, England, Guatemala, Mexico and South Africa.

Dr. Raheim has published book chapters, peer-reviewed articles and technical reports in her areas of expertise. She has developed the conceptual framework for her organizational change efforts, on which she has expounded in her more than 80 presentations, workshops and seminars at local, state, national, and international venues. She has won multiple honors and awards, including being named by the NAACP in 2011 and 2013 as one of the “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut.”