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2024 Special Awardees

We are grateful to these social workers for upholding the integrity of the social work profession and for their tireless efforts to serve in the midst of global pandemics.

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Daphne Salter Austin, MSW, LSW, LMT

The Social Worker Lifetime Achievement Award is an annual honor to acknowledge a social worker trailblazer who has worked tirelessly throughout their career to make significant contributions to the advancement and sustainability in the social work profession.


Daphne is a graduate of Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio) majoring in Social Work and Business Education. She earned her MSW from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. For the past 35 years, Daphne has been employed as a Medical Social Worker at West Penn Hospital covering the Burn Unit and the Medical & Surgical Intensive Care Units.

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Dr. Staci Ford, BSW

The Social Worker Entrepreneur Award is an annual honor given to a social worker who has demonstrated a commitment to innovation and creativity in the field of social work.  This award was created to acknowledge Entrepreneurship as a career path in the social work profession.  This award recognizes the successful development of a new program, service, or organization that has had a positive impact on the lives of individuals, families, and/or communities.


Dr. Staci Ford is the founder of Kyle’s Hope. She is well known for her expertise in Trauma Informed Care, Advocacy, and therapeutic approach to providing quality care for individuals with all needs. Understanding that trauma comes from numerous life situations, Dr. Ford has focused on her education and career over the years so that she would be able to effectively make a difference in quality-of-life care for all. Dr. Ford has worked in the communities supporting others for the past 20 years focuses on Trauma and Interventions. Dr. Ford believes that everyone has the right to the best quality of life they can have all in honor of her son Kyle.

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