Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission

PHRC Exectuive Director Receives Top State Honor

Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW, selected by National Association of Social Workers, PA Social Worker of the Year 

HARRISBURG, PA – The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is pleased to announce that its executive director, Chad Dion Lassiter, MSW, has been selected by the National Association of Social Workers, PA Chapter as its 2021 Social Worker of the Year.  The award will be presented during NASW's Keystone Award Ceremony Tuesday, October 26th from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m.  The public is invited to attend via this link:

 "I am honored and overwhelmed by this recognition," Lassiter said. "I am acutely aware of the vital work being accomplished by my peers across the state and am sincerely humbled to have been selected among such a notable group. I am also grateful for the opportunities this profession has given me to have a positive impact on our most vulnerable communities."

According to Johanna Byrd, executive director for NASW PA Chapter:

"The Social Worker of The Year Award honors a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) who exemplifies the best of the profession's values and achievements through specific accomplishments. In honoring the Social Worker of the Year, NASW highlights superb accomplishments in the practice of social work."

Award nominees are decided by the following criteria, and must demonstrate that they:

  • Make a demonstrable difference in such areas as advocacy for clients/social policy, social work practice, program development, administration, and research
  • Demonstrate outstanding leadership
  • Contribute to a positive image for the social work profession
  • Take risks to achieve outstanding results

As is evidenced by his successful tenure as Executive Director of PHRC, Chad Dion Lassiter is a nationally recognized expert in the field of American Race Relations. He has worked on race, peace, and poverty-related issues in the U.S., Africa, Canada, Haiti, Israel, and Norway, and is called upon frequently by media outlets to provide commentary on race relations and potential solutions.

Lassiter received his master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Social Work, where he was the A. Phillip Randolph Award winner in 2001. He received his bachelor's degree in Social Work from Johnson C. Smith University in 1995.

Lassiter is a Co-founder and the current President of The University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy & Practice's Black Men at Penn, the first Ivy League black male group of social workers. He has been recognized by the Philadelphia Tribune as "The Most Influential African American Leader from 2010-2020," as the "Young Leaders of the Future Under 30" by Ebony Magazine in 2003, and "Who's Who among African-Americans" 17th edition in 2004 with such notables as Colin Powell and Michael Jordan. On November 18, 2019, Lassiter was inducted into the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice Alumni Hall of Fame.

Previously, Lassiter has served as Executive Director of the Red Cross House with the American Red Cross of Eastern Pennsylvania and a Visiting Scholar at West Chester University in the Undergraduate School of Social Work. He was also a former contributing Professor at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Social Policy and Practice, where he was the 2008 recipient of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Award. He is a former research fellow at the W.E.B. DuBois Collective Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where he worked on two National Research Projects, P.L.A.A.Y. (Preventing Long Term Anger and Aggression in Youth) and H.I.P.P. (Health Information Providers and Promoters).

Lassiter has also held several Board of Trustees positions, which include his appointment as a member of the Board of Governors at St. Christopher Hospital for the Children (five years), Board of Trustees for the Philadelphia Prison System (eight years), and Board of Trustees for the Community College of Philadelphia (five years).

PHRC Media Contact Details

Amanda Brothman

Communications Director 771-856-5971
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Media