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Note: These rankings dynamically change as our AI learns new things and new publications and citations are made. Academics are actively researching and publishing new insights, leaving our measure of more recent influence subject to continual adjustments. While we delay real-time changes for quality assurance reasons, be not surprised as you see our rankings change over time.

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Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

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List of the most influential people in Social Work, for the years 2010 – 2020

Alexis Jay
# 1
Alexis Jay

1949 - Present (71 years)

#57338 person's overall influence

Alexandrina Henderson Farmer Jay, OBE is a British social worker and academic. She is a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde and the independent chair of the Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection .

Melissa McCool
# 2
Melissa McCool

1970 - Present (50 years)

#180103 person's overall influence

# 3
Michael G. Vaughn

1950 - Present (70 years)

#450531 person's overall influence

Michael G. Vaughn is a professor of social work at the School of Social Work in the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, where he is also the current director of the Ph.D. in social work program. His research spans multiple disciplines, including criminology, epidemiology, and social work. For example, he co-authored a 2014 study which found that immigrants are less likely to engage in antisocial behaviors than native-born Americans.

# 4
Matthew O. Howard

1956 - 2018 (62 years)

#349416 person's overall influence

Matthew Owen Howard was the Frank A. Daniels Distinguished Professor for Human Services Policy Information in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was also the Associate Dean for Doctoral Education. He was a renowned expert in substance use disorders, particularly inhalant abuse, inert gas asphyxiation, and alcohol dependence among youths. Howard authored nearly 400 publications, which includes more than 300 peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, editorials, government reports, and abstracts. In 2010, he was inducted as a member and fellow of t

# 5
Stuart A. Kirk

1945 - Present (75 years)

#75768 person's overall influence

Stuart A. Kirk holds the Marjorie Crump Chair in Social Welfare at UCLA and is a former psychiatric social worker. His research interests include mental health issues, particularly the creation and use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . Kirk has authored, co-authored and edited many books, including most recently Mad Science: Psychiatric Coercion, Diagnosis, and Drugs . He was former chief editor of the Social Work Research journal.

Malvika Iyer
# 6
Malvika Iyer

1989 - Present (31 years)

#397793 person's overall influence

Malvika Iyer is an Indian national, a bilateral amputee, a bomb blast survivor, a social worker, and a National Awardee. She is an international motivational speaker and a disability rights activist, advocating for building an inclusive society. She is also a model for accessible fashion. Iyer obtained her Doctorate in Social Work from Madras School of Social Work in 2017. Her doctoral thesis is on the stigmatization of people with disabilities.

Gerald P. Mallon
# 7
Gerald P. Mallon

1950 - Present (70 years)

#323929 person's overall influence

Gerald P. Mallon is an American writer and social worker who focuses on LGBTQ family issues. He is currently the Julia Lathrop Professor of Child Welfare and Associate Dean of Scholarship and Research at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, City University of New York. He is also the Director of the National Center for Child Welfare Excellence and an adoptive parent.

# 8
Antoinette Lombard
#584670 person's overall influence

Antoinette Lombard is the Head of the Department of Social Work and Criminology and a Professor in Social Work at the University of Pretoria. She is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. She was awarded the James Billups International Consortium for Social Development Leadership Award in Social Development prize in 2013. She is the Programme Director of the Fordham University’s Ubuntu Exchange Programme with the University of Pretoria. She is the Chairperson of Global Agenda Committee in International Association of Schools of Social Work.

# 9
Edward Kruk
#552771 person's overall influence

Edward Kruk is a Canadian sociologist and social worker. He has conducted internationally recognized research on child custody, shared parenting, family mediation, divorced fathers, parental alienation, parental addiction, child protection, and grandparent access to their grandchildren. Kruk is an associate professor of social work at the University of British Columbia. He is the founding president of the International Council on Shared Parenting.

Jayne Senior
# 10
Jayne Senior
#53810 person's overall influence

Jayne Senior, MBE, is a British youth worker and manager of the Swinton Lock Activity Centre near Mexborough in South Yorkshire, England.

Shiu Ka Chun
# 11
Shiu Ka Chun

1970 - Present (50 years)

#102532 person's overall influence

Shiu Ka-chun , nickname Bottle, is a Hong Kong social worker and activist. He was one of leaders in the 2014 Hong Kong protests. In 2016, he was elected to the Legislative Council of Hong Kong through the Social Welfare functional constituency.

Alex Sangha
# 12
Alex Sangha

1972 - Present (48 years)

#435987 person's overall influence

Alex Sangha MSM is a Canadian social worker and documentary film producer.  He is the founder of Sher Vancouver which is a social, cultural, and support non-profit society for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer South Asians and their friends.  Sangha was the first Sikh to become a Grand Marshal of the Vancouver Pride Parade.  Sangha received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette for founding Sher Vancouver.  Sangha's first documentary film, My Name Was January, won 13 awards and garnered 56 official sele...

# 13
Alia Hogben
#341294 person's overall influence

Alia Hogben is the Executive Director of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women. Hogben has been involved with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women since its founding, initially serving as a board member.

# 14
Kee MacFarlane

1947 - Present (73 years)

#190541 person's overall influence

Kathleen 'Kee' MacFarlane is an American social worker known for involvement in the high-profile McMartin preschool trial in the 1980s. She was the Director of Children's Institute International. She developed the concept of the anatomically correct doll for children to use during interviews concerning abuse and played a significant role in the McMartin trial with criticism made of her interview methods.

# 15
Christa Fouché
#684925 person's overall influence

Christa B. Fouché is a New Zealand social work academic. She is currently professor of social work at the University of Auckland. Her work has covered people living with medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer's disease.

# 16
Jane Maidment
#671881 person's overall influence

Jane M. Maidment is a New Zealand social work academic, and as of 2019 is a full professor at the University of Canterbury.

Ariel Bruce
# 17
Ariel Bruce

1951 - Present (69 years)

#226253 person's overall influence

Ariel Bruce is a British independent social worker who works as a specialist search consultant for film, TV and documentary makers. Born in Hampstead, London, she is the granddaughter of Marxist economist Fritz Sternberg.

# 18
Marilyn Montenegro
#598190 person's overall influence

Marilyn Montenegro is an American social worker located in California. She specializes in cases that involve women who are incarcerated or being released from prison/jail. She has been recognized in many different areas for her dedication to social work and changing social welfare.

# 19
Dianne F. Harrison
#34346 person's overall influence

Dianne F. Harrison is an American college administrator and former social worker. She was the president of California State University, Monterey Bay from 2006 through 2012. In June 2012, she became the fifth president of California State University, Northridge. Previously, she worked for thirty years at Florida State University.

Ayesha Rubina
# 20
Ayesha Rubina

1969 - Present (51 years)

#360594 person's overall influence

Ayesha Rubina is a corporator of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation , educationist, social entrepreneur, social worker and former co-opted member of . She is noted for being instrumental in planning a first-of-its-kind park for special needs people in India. She provides special education to children with special needs. She actively takes part in social debates and local issues. She is based in Hyderabad, India.

# 21
Sarita Singh
#601661 person's overall influence

Sarita Singh is an Indian politician, who is the incumbent president of Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, the student's wing of the Aam Aadmi Party . She was a member of the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Delhi and represented Rohtas Nagar of Delhi. Singh is also a social worker.

Abdul Sattar Edhi
# 22
Abdul Sattar Edhi

1928 - 2016 (88 years)

#41029 person's overall influence

Abdul Sattar Edhi was a Pakistani philanthropist, ascetic, and humanitarian who founded the Edhi Foundation, which runs the world's largest volunteer ambulance network, along with various homeless shelters, animal shelters, rehabilitation centres, and orphanages across Pakistan. Following his death, his son Faisal Edhi took over as head of the Edhi Foundation. He is remembered inside and outside of Pakistan as an ambassador to "true Islam" contrasting him with terrorists that dominate media coverage about Muslims.

Brené Brown
# 23
Brené Brown

1965 - Present (55 years)

#331955 person's overall influence

Casandra Brené Brown is an American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. Brown holds the Huffington Foundation’s Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work and is a visiting professor in management at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Pushpa Basnet
# 24
Pushpa Basnet

1984 - Present (36 years)

#207861 person's overall influence

Pushpa Basnet is a social worker and the founder/president of Early Childhood Development Center and Butterfly Home, non-profit organizations, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Her organization works to strengthen the rights of children living behind bars with their incarcerated parents.

# 25
Trapeta Mayson

1967 - Present (53 years)

#350071 person's overall influence

Trapeta B. Mayson is a Liberian-born poet, teacher, social worker, and non-profit administrator residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US. Her writing primarily centers on the experiences of immigrants to the United States, the struggles of people dealing with conflict in Liberia, and the daily lives of average people, especially women and girls. She received a Master of Social Work from Bryn Mawr College and an MBA from Villanova University. She was selected as the fifth Poet Laureate of Philadelphia in 2019.

# 26
Jenifer Bamuturaki

1950 - Present (70 years)

#710719 person's overall influence

Jenifer Bamuturaki, also Jennifer Bamuturaki, is a Ugandan social worker, marketing professional and corporate executive, who serves as the Commercial Manager at Uganda National Airlines Company the revived national airline of Uganda, effective April 2019.

# 27
Celeste Plumlee
#396786 person's overall influence

Celeste Plumlee is an American social worker and community advocate who was appointed to the Arizona House of Representatives in December 2015. She is a Democrat and represented Legislative District 26 which includes parts of Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, and the Salt River Pima –Maricopa Indian Community. She replaced Andrew Sherwood when he was appointed to the State Senate.

# 28
Daniel Harkness
#449090 person's overall influence

Daniel Harkness is an author, professor, and licensed clinical social worker. Along with Alfred Kadushin, Harkness wrote Supervision in Social Work in 2002.

# 29
Jeffrey Edleson

1953 - Present (67 years)

#599657 person's overall influence

Jeffrey L. Edleson is Dean and the Harry & Riva Specht Chair in Publicly Supported Social Services at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Social Welfare. He was a Professor in the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, for 29 years before moving to Berkeley in August 2012. He was also the Founding Director of the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on children exposed to domestic violence and has published over 120 articles and 12 books on domestic violence, groupwork, and program evaluation.

# 30
Celia Williamson
#527250 person's overall influence

Celia Williamson is an American University of Toledo Professor of Social Work and Executive Director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute, as well as researcher and community advocate who seeks to combat domestic human trafficking and prostitution. She was named the 26th most influential social worker alive today

Jerry Milner
# 31
Jerry Milner
#580596 person's overall influence

Dr. Jerry Milner is an American social worker and civil servant, currently serving as the Acting Commissioner of the Administration for Children and Families, a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. He also currently oversees the Family and Youth Services Bureau and United States Children's Bureau.

# 32
Joanne N. Smith
#478358 person's overall influence

Joanne Ninive Smith is a Haitian-American feminist, human rights advocate and social worker from New York City, who currently resides in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She is the executive director and founder of the Brooklyn-based non-profit organization, Girls for Gender Equity . Smith has organized around the issues of gender equality, racial justice, school pushout, sexual harassment, police brutality, the criminalization of black girls in schools and violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people of color.

# 33
Kai Cheng Thom

1991 - Present (29 years)

#481147 person's overall influence

Kai Cheng Thom is a Canadian writer and social worker, As of 2019, she has published four books, including the novel Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl's Confabulous Memoir , the poetry collection a place called No Homeland , a children's book, From the Stars in The Sky to the Fish in the Sea , and I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes from the End of the World , a book of essays centered on transformative justice.

# 34
George Fulton

1977 - Present (43 years)

#410353 person's overall influence

George Fulton is a British-Pakistani television journalist, writer and producer. Born and raised in Birkenhead, he first visited Pakistan to launch a BBC produced political talk show Question Time Pakistan. After moving to Pakistan and working on various ventures, George has now launched his YouTube channel Desi George, where he frequently collaborates and produces videos featuring Shaniera Akram about Pakistan and its culture.

# 35
Ann Elizabeth Wee

1926 - 2019 (93 years)

#247328 person's overall influence

Ann Elizabeth Wee was a British-born Singaporean academic and social worker, who was called the founding mother of social work in Singapore. She was known for pioneering professional social work in Singapore and as the longest-serving head of the Department of Social Work in the National University of Singapore. She was the inaugural recipient of the lifetime volunteer achievement award of the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports in 2009, was honored with the Meritorious Service Medal in 2010 and was inducted into the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame in 2014.

Janet B. W. Williams
# 36
Janet B. W. Williams

1947 - Present (73 years)

#199569 person's overall influence

Janet B. W. Williams is an American social worker who focuses on the diagnosis and assessment of mental disorders. She is Professor Emerita of Clinical Psychiatric Social Work at Columbia University. She was a major force in writing the PHQ-9, a 9-question instrument given to patients in a primary care setting to screen for the presence and severity of depression.

Mitzi Dean
# 37
Mitzi Dean
#671498 person's overall influence

Mitzi Jayne Dean is a Canadian politician, who was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the 2017 provincial election. She represents the electoral district of Esquimalt-Metchosin as a member of the British Columbia New Democratic Party caucus. Mitzi Dean was appointed as the province's Parliamentary Secretary of the newly created Gender Equity Secretariat,in the Ministry or Finance, in February 2018 by Premier John Horgan.

# 38
Mahesh Raut
#530832 person's overall influence

Mahesh Raut is an activist working with Adivasi in Gadchiroli. He studied at the Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai and has worked as a Prime Minister Rural Development Fellow in Gadchiroli.

# 39
Moira Gibb

1950 - Present (70 years)

#402951 person's overall influence

Dame Moira Margaret Gibb is a British public servant and former social worker.

Emilia Molina Cruz
# 40
Emilia Molina Cruz
#299043 person's overall influence

Emilia Molina Cruz is a Costa Rican politician, social worker, and entrepreneur. She is a deputy in the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica for the 2014-2018 term.

# 41
Kai Hibbard

1978 - Present (42 years)

#299337 person's overall influence

Kai Hibbard is an American activist, social worker, writer, and former reality TV participant, who spoke out about the negative ways in which appearing on The Biggest Loser affected her physical and mental health, along with highlighting the research that shows it also negatively affects viewers. She is a published academic researcher, has been published on XOJane and her Cracked article inspired an off Broadway play, Taught. She has written a fictional account of weight loss reality television, that she self-published in December 2017, and speaks at conferences on the topics of body acceptan...

Jackie Sanders
# 42
Jackie Sanders

1959 - Present (61 years)

#299747 person's overall influence

Jacqueline Ruth "Jackie" Sanders is a New Zealand social work academic, and professor in the School of Social Work at Massey University.

Darcy Sterling
# 43
Darcy Sterling

1969 - Present (51 years)

#559932 person's overall influence

Dr. Darcy Sterling is an American clinical social worker, relationship expert and television personality. She co-owns the New York City-based group practice Alternatives Counseling. Sterling is the host and relationship expert on the E! network series Famously Single, and is a contributing writer for Psychology Today and other publications.

Tik Chi-yuen
# 44
Tik Chi-yuen

1957 - Present (63 years)

#345089 person's overall influence

Tik Chi-yuen , SBS, JP, is the former member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council and the North District Council. He is a registered social worker. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Maryann Krieglstein
# 45
Maryann Krieglstein

1944 - Present (76 years)

#125624 person's overall influence

Maryann Krieglstein , is an American academic social worker and Human Services Professor Emeritus at the College of DuPage. She previously served as the Coordinator of Sexual Assault Services for the YWCA of DuPage and the Coordinator of the Human Services program at the College of DuPage. Her research on domestic violence and heterosexism in Social Work has been published in the American Journal of Community Psychology and the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment.

# 46
Kunjana Ghimire
#821670 person's overall influence

Kunjana Ghimire , popularly known by her serial name Suntali is a Nepalese philanthropist, comedian, actor and a social worker. She is one of the main characters of the Nepali TV series Meri Bassai. She is considered one of the Nepal's talented and good comedian ever because she had played various roles in her own sitcom Meri Bassai. She is highly active in social work.

Medha Patkar
# 47
Medha Patkar

1954 - Present (66 years)

#40830 person's overall influence

Medha Patkar is an Indian social activist working on various crucial political and economic issues raised by tribals, dalits, farmers, labourers and women facing injustice in India. She is an alumnus of TISS, a premier institute of social science research in India.

# 48
Jeeja Ghosh
#259605 person's overall influence

Jeeja Ghosh was born with cerebral palsy, a condition caused by lack of oxygen to the brain either during pregnancy or at the time of delivery. She completed her schools from the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy and La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata , India. She graduated with Honours in Sociology from Presidency College in Kolkata. She is a qualified social worker from the Delhi School of Social Work, Delhi University. In 2006 she completed her second masters in Disability Studies from Leeds University, UK.

# 49
Nileema Mishra

1972 - Present (48 years)

#340142 person's overall influence

Nileema Mishra is a social worker from the Indian state of Maharashtra. She received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in 2011. Nileema was born into a lower-middle-class family in 1972 in the village of Bahadarpur Taluka Parola, District- Jalgaon, Maharashtra. She is a postgraduate in psychology from the University of Pune. After her education, she worked with Vigyan Ashram, Pabal under the guidance of Dr Kalbagh. She registered Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan formally in the year 2005 with the help of Dr Jagannath Wani. Nileema has association with Caring Friends, Mumb

Deidre Palmer
# 50
Deidre Palmer
#482969 person's overall influence

Deidre Palmer is the President of the Uniting Church in Australia since 8 July 2018. She is a counsellor, theologian, and social worker. She was the Moderator of the Uniting Church's Synod of South Australia from 2013 to 2016.