Patricia Lenahan, an adjunct lecturer at the USC School of Social Work, was honored by the Orange County chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) as Social Worker of the Year.
The accolade recognizes a member of NASW who exemplifies the best of the profession’s values and achievements through outstanding accomplishments in the practice of social work.
Lenahan, a licensed clinical social worker, marriage and family therapist, is a founding member of the Diversity Training Institute for Public Safety, whose training programs provide skills necessary to communicate with ethnically diverse victims. She also is a member of the scientific review and educational committees of the Academy on Violence and Abuse.
“I have been privileged to work with incredible colleagues, as well as with individual patients and clients who have shown me what hope, faith, family and resilience mean,” Lenahan said. “This award is humbling. Social workers do what we do because of our passion to help others. At the same time, this recognition helps me to keep that passion going forward and, hopefully, to ‘infect’ my students with that desire to serve in this great profession.”
In addition to her work on behalf of the school’s health concentration, Lenahan has been an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and director of behavioral medicine for the Department of Family Medicine, where she served as content theme coordinator for the medical school curriculum in diversity and cultural competence, sexuality and family violence. She also was the first social worker on the program committee for the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine.
Lenahan has lectured around the world on behavioral issues and medical education topics. She also has written extensively on sexuality and family violence and is the co-author/co-editor of Cinemeducation: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Film in Medical Education.