Charles Emlet, Preeminent Scholar on Older Adults, Named AASWSW Fellow

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The School of Social Work & Criminal Justice's Dr. Charles Emlet has been inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.

UW Tacoma Professor Charles EmletUW Tacoma Professor Charles Emlet has been recognized for his contributions to the fields of social work and social welfare. Emlet was named a Fellow by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW) during the organization’s annual meeting in Washington, DC in January 2020. “There are fewer than 150 AASWSW Fellows in the United States, so the fact that a colleague — who must also be a Fellow — took the time and effort to nominate me means a great deal,” said Emlet.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Emlett has been selected to join social work’s highest honorific society! As one of the nation’s preeminent scholars on vulnerable populations of older adults, his recognition is extremely well-earned. Charley has had a tremendous influence on the fields of gerontology, HIV/AIDS research, and social welfare — and it is gratifying that the Academy has recognized his many contributions.”
Dr. Eddie Uehara, Dean, UW School of Social Work

The AASWSW is an honorific society that is “dedicated to excellence in the field of social work and social welfare through high-impact work that advances the social good.” Emlet and 18 other scholars were inducted in this year’s class of Fellows.

This year marks Emlet’s 41st year as a social worker. He came to UW Tacoma in 1999. “I worked for 20 years as a licensed practitioner and another 21 years in academia,” he said. The core of Emlet’s work involves what he describes as “making the lives of older people better.”

Emlet ran an AIDS home care project in the San Francisco Bay area during the 1980s. “I noticed that the older adults we were serving viewed their needs and willingness to seek services differently than younger clients and that sparked me to ask, ‘What is going on here?’” The question ultimately lead to a career. “My core philosophy for the past four decades is to work toward improving the lives of older adults who are vulnerable to stigma, ageism and marginalization through the application of social work practice, policy advocacy and research,” said Emlet.

“Charley’s contributions to UW Tacoma and to our School are significant and extensive. Since joining the Social Work Program in 1999, he has provided a steady presence for our students, staff, and faculty colleagues. Charley’s accomplishments are impressive and recognized internationally, and most importantly, he cares deeply about providing excellent educational experiences for our students. He is an educator, scholar, and mentor who shares his expertise in the classroom and beyond.”
Dr. Marcie Lazzari, Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, interim co-directors
UW Tacoma School of Social Work & Criminal Justice

Since transitioning into higher education, Emlet has authored two books and more than 80 journal articles and book chapters. Among his many accomplishments, Emlet serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of HIV/AIDS and Social Services and The Gerontologist. He is a member of numerous social work organizations including the Gerontological Society of America where he is also a Fellow. Emlet has received numerous grants over the years including funding from the National Institutes of Health and the John A. Hartford Foundation. He received UW Tacoma’s Distinguished Research Award in 2004, was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2013 and received UW Tacoma’s Distinguished Community Engagement Award in 2016.

Emlet is currently a co-investigator and research team member on two research projects, the National Health, Aging, and Sexuality/Gender Study and the Innovations in Dementia Empowerment and Action Study, both funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Written by: 
Eric Wilson-Edge / February 12, 2020
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or