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Ruth E. Fizdale

Ruth E. Fizdale helped transform social work from a charitable volunteer activity to a paid profession through her development of a fee-for-service, nonprofit counseling firm. As chief of social services staff development for the Veterans Administration during WWII, Fizdale worked with schools to ensure they offered courses that matched the needs in the field, and offered competitive stipends for students who chose to enter social service organizations. For nineteen years she applied these business practices as executive of Arthur Lehman Counseling Services in New York City, creating a fair salary scale and incentive pay, and setting national standards for the quality of services. She outlined her work there in her book Social Agency Structure and Accountability, which was used by schools, agencies and private practices to standardize care in fee-based social work. She taught classes at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, was an active member of the National Association of Social Workers from its inception in 1955, and was a founding member of the Competence Certification Board, which oversaw the Academy of Certified Social Workers. In her will, she created scholarships at the University of Chicago, Smith, Hunter, and the University of Pennsylvania.

More on: Social Science
More on Ruth E. Fizdale
Date of Birth
January 6, 1908
Place of Birth
Chicago, Illinois
Date of Death
October 25, 1994

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth E. Fizdale ." (Viewed on January 22, 2018) <>.


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