Delbert M. Anderson
Del Anderson received his Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 1946. Prior to the VA, he had worked as a Recreation Director, Program Director at Goodrich social Settlement in Cleveland, and an instructor at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work.
His VA social work career began at the VA Office in Duluth Minnesota. He then became a Supervisory Social Worker at the VA Outpatient Clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Chief Social Worker at the VA Regional Office in Detroit, Michigan. In 1961 he went to VA Central Office as a Specialist in Program Appraisal, became Assistant Director in 1962, and Director in 1964. He remained Director until his retirement in 1974.
Mr. Anderson is a World War II veteran serving from 1942 to 1946 (European Theatre) as a 1st Lt. Infantry Officer. He retired as a Major in the Medical Service Corps, U. S. Army Reserve, with a specialty in Social Work.
Mr. Anderson’s Professional Memberships, Activities, Community Involvement, Publications, and Awards are numerous. His influence has reached far beyond VA Social Work.
Mr. Anderson’s VA career, especially his tenure in Central Office, was during a time of growth and innovation for social work. With the increased use of psychotropic medication, patients were being released from hospitals on “Six Month Trial Visits”, and social work took the responsibility of follow-up in the home. The Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Program was initiated, again with social work making home visits and conducting Social and Industrial Surveys for compensation purposes. Arguably the most successful Chiefs training program in the VA, Social work Administrative Leadership (SWALT), was begun and flourished during this time. These and many other social work lead programs flourished because of Mr. Anderson’s visionary thinking and leadership. It was during this time that VA Social Work made some of its greatest strides in being recognized as a separate professional service that played an integral role in providing quality health care to the veterans, their families, and communities.
It is with great pleasure that I submit this nomination of a VA Social Work Icon, Mr. Delbert M. Anderson, to be the first person inducted into the Association of VA Social Workers Hall of Fame.