The School of Social Work Welcomes a New Dean

Jeanette C. Takamura has been named the seventeenth dean of the Columbia School of Social Work. She is the first female dean of the School in its 103-year history.

Takamura was assistant secretary for aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1997 until June 2001, when she was appointed to the Edward R. Roybal Endowed Chair in Applied Gerontology and Public Service at California State University at Los Angeles.

At the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Takamura led the development of a modernized Older Americans Act and the establishment of the National Family Caregiver Support Program, both signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 2000. In addition, during her tenure the federal Older American Act programs and services received the largest funding increases since 1972. During the 1999 International Year of the Older Person, she led a crosscutting effort by the U.S. executive branch to lay a foundation for interdepartmental collaboration on aging policy and programs.

Before entering the federal government, Takamura served as first deputy of health for the Hawaii Department of Health, where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the nation’s third largest health department. Earlier she had directed the State Executive Office on Aging and held faculty and administrative appointments at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s schools of medicine and social work.

Last June Takamura received the Humanitarian Award at the 2002 International Conference on Immunology and Aging. She is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, a principal of the Council for Excellence in Government, vice president of the Older Women’s League, and chair-elect of the American Society on Aging. Her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in social work are from the University of Hawaii, and she holds a Ph.D. in social policy from Brandeis University.

At Columbia, Takamura succeeds Ronald Feldman, who served as dean of the School of Social Work for fifteen years.