Maurice Hamovitch

1919 – 1998

Valued advocate for social research and policy

Dr. Maurice Hamovitch has made significant contributions to both social work and medical literature. Born in Toronto, Canada, he was the first social worker in the Canadian Army Medical Corps. His teaching areas were social research methods and social policy and his particular area of expertise was in the area of the patterns of adaptation of families to the crisis of a fatal illness in a child. His work has highlighted the important contribution of a parent participation program in mitigating the crisis.

Dr. Hamovitch received his B.A. in Psychology and Political Science in 1940 from Queens University in Kingston, Canada. He received a MSW from McGill University in 1942. And, he attended the University of Chicago to pursue advanced study in Social Service Administration and Public Welfare and Research earning both AM and PhD degrees.

In 1949, Dr. Hamovitch moved to Los Angeles and joined the faculty of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Southern California, where he became and remained an influential and popular member for 43 years. He recruited more minority students and faculty, and broadened the curricula to reflect concerns of ethnic minorities, women, gays and lesbians. He was always attentive to students, their concerns, needs, and problems, as he was towards the faculty when he became Dean of the School in 1968. He served as dean until his voluntary retirement in 1980. He also served as Director of the school’s doctoral program from 1980-1985.

Dr. Hamovitch was the first recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health Stipend Award, designed to encourage social scientists to address mental health issues. He spent a year with Gerald Caplan at the Harvard School of Public Health conducting research on mental health consultants. An influential member of the Council on Social Work Education, Dr. Hamovitch chaired both its Committee on Continuing Education (1969-1973) and its Committee on Educational Planning (1975-1979).

He also served as an advisor to several agencies, including Jewish Family Service as a member of its board of directors, the Veterans Administration on its advisory committee, as a member of the first NIMH Project Grants Advisory Committee, and on the Centinela Hospital Awards Committee. Dr. Hamovitch became active in the California Social Welfare Archives, a group of volunteers under the sponsorship of the School of Social Work and the University Libraries System, which collects and preserves historical materials depicting the development of health and social welfare in California. At the time of his death in 1998, he was president of this organization.

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