Ruth Knee Lectures

The Ruth Knee Fund for Spirituality and Social Work was established at the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice in 1997 to support the development of content related to spirituality in social work. The Fund also sponsors the Ruth Knee Lecture on Spirituality and Social Work.

Ruth Irelan Knee, A.M. '45, was a founding member of the National Association of Social Workers and one of the first psychiatric social workers. Her work across three decades helped define the role of social workers in the public sector. Ms. Knee served in the U.S. Public Health Service during the 1940s and in the then-new National Institute of Mental Health, where she was a liaison for policy development and technical assistance concerning the mental health components of Medicare and Medicaid. During her 30 years of federal service, she developed social work roles within public health and military health care programs and advanced innovations and improvements in mental health services.

Ms. Knee was also a leader in several professional organizations, including: the Council on Social Work Education, the American Public Health Association, and the American Orthopsychiatric Association. From 1963 to 1970 she was chairman of the NASW Committee on the Study of Competence, which was instrumental in setting standards for social work practice.

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