Rehr, Helen 1919-

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Rehr, Helen 1919-


Born December 16, 1919, in New York, NY; daughter of Philip (a waiter) and Rose Rehr. Education: Hunter College, City University of New York, B.A., 1940; Columbia University, M.S., 1945, D.S.W./Ph.D., 1970. Religion: Jewish.


Home—New York, NY. Office—Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Box 1252, One Gustave Levy Pl., New York, NY 10029.


Social worker, writer. Sydenham Hospital, New York, NY, social worker and assistant director, 1943-45; Grasslands Hospital, Valhalla, NY, Department of Social Work supervisor, 1945-47; New York University, Bellevue Medical Center, New York, NY, preventive medicine assistant, 1947-51; Department of Health Maternal and Newborn Division, New York, NY, medical social consultant, 1951-52; New York Association for New Americans, New York, NY, medical and psychiatric consultant, 1952-54; New York Service for Orthopedically Handicapped Children, New York, NY, research associate, 1954; Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY, Department of Social Work Services associate director, 1954-71, Department of Social Work Services director, 1971-79, Doris Siegel Memorial Fund executive secretary and coordinator of Colloquia, 1973-87, Brookdale Social Health Center on Aging coprincipal investigator, 1976-83, Murray M. Rosenberg Applied Social Work Research Center director, 1976-85, special assistant to the vice president, 1979-86, Doris Siegel Colloquia consultant, 1987—; Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, assistant professor of community medicine, 1968-71, associate professor of community medicine, 1971-72, Department of Community Medicine chair/director and Edith J. Baerwald Professor of Community Medicine, 1973-86, Page and William Black School, Division of Continuing Education director, 1976-86, professor of community medicine emerita and Departments of Community Medicine and Social Work Services consultant, 1986—; Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY, adjunct clinical professor of social work, 1977—; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Kenneth L.M. Pray Visiting Professor of Social Work, 1978-79; Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel, Dozor Clinical Professor, 1986; International Enhancement of Leadership Program, founder and consultant, 1986. Visiting lecturer at Flinders University, 1990, University of Melbourne, 1990, Israel Schools of Social Work, 1991, and Association of Israel, 1991; Gerontology Society of America fellow, 1992—; New York Academy of Medicine fellow, 1995—.


Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services (advisory board for quality management, 2000—), New York City Chapter (pioneer committee and national executive committee), Women's Longevity Group (chair), Brookdale Foundation Social Work Aging Committee, National Association of Social Workers and New York City Chapter, American Public Health Association, Public Health Association of New York City, Council on Social Work Education, United Hospital Fund, American Hospital Association, Society of Social Work Leaders in Health Care, Academy of Certified Social Workers, Gerontology Society of America, New York Academy of Sciences, National Center for Social Policy and Practice, New York Academy of Medicine.


Ida M. Cannon award, Society of Social Work Leadership in Health Care, 1975; First Knee/Whitman lifetime achievement award, National Association for Social Workers, 1990; Ruth Ravich award, National Society of Patient Representatives of the American Hospital Association, 1994; Hunter College, City University of New York, honorary doctorate of science, 1995; Distinguished service medal, Columbia University, 2004; lifetime achievement award, National Association of Social Workers, 2004; social worker of the year, National Association for Social Workers, New York City chapter; inducted into the Hall of Fame of both Hunter College and Columbia University; elected Distinguished Practitioner, National Academies of Practice; recipient of numerous grants.


(Editor) Medicine and Social Work: An Exploration in Interprofessionalism, Prodist (New York, NY), 1974.

(Editor) Ethical Dilemmas in Health Care: A Professional Search for Solutions, Prodist (New York, NY), 1978.

(Editor) Professional Accountability for Social Work Practice: A Search for Concepts and Guidelines, Prodist (New York, NY), 1979.

(Editor, with Mildred D. Mailick) In the Patient's Interest: Access to Hospital Care, Prodist (New York, NY), 1981.

(Editor) Milestones in Social Work and Medicine: Social-Health Care Concepts, Prodist (New York, NY), 1982.

(Editor, with Gary Rosenberg) Advancing Social Work Practice in the Health Care Field: Emerging Issues and New Perspectives, Haworth Press (New York, NY), 1983.

(Editor, with Rosalind S. Miller) Social Work Issues in Health Care, Prentice-Hall (Englewood Cliffs, NJ), 1983.

Examples of Monitoring and Evaluation in Hospital Social Work Services and Discharge Planning, Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (Chicago, IL), 1990.

(Editor, with Gary Rosenberg) The Changing Context of Social-Health Care: Its Implications for Providers and Consumers, Haworth Press (New York, NY), 1991.

(Editor, with Gary Rosenberg and Susan Blumenfield) Creative Social Work in Health Care: Clients, the Community, and Your Organization, Springer (New York, NY), 1998.

(Editor, with Joanna Mellor) Baby Boomers: Can My Eighties Be Like My Fifties?, Springer (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Gary Rosenberg) The Social Work-Medicine Relationship: 100 Years at Mount Sinai, Haworth Press (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of chapters to scholarly books. Contributor of articles and book reviews to numerous periodicals and journals. On editorial board of Social Work in Health Care, 1975—, Community Mental Health Journal, 1981-88, Health and Social Work, 1972-77, Quality Review Bulletin, 1978-84, and the Social Work Dictionary, 1985-86.


Helen Rehr is an American social worker. Her career in social work began in the 1940s while she was studying at Columbia University for a master of social work degree. She remained in New York for most of her career and forged a working partnership with the Mount Sinai Medical Center and School of Medicine. She contributes regularly to scholarly journals and books in the field of social work.

In 2006 Rehr wrote The Social Work-Medicine Relationship: 100 Years at Mount Sinai with former collaborator and Mount Sinai employee Gary Rosenberg. The book covers the late-twentieth-century history of the Mount Sinai Medical Center and the formation and evolution of the social work department there. Rehr has had an association with the center and its social work department since 1954 and made use of her firsthand experience at the organization. In particular, the pair outline how the social work department worked in partnership with the center's medical departments and paralleled this to a history of medicine and social work joining together from ancient times through to the early 2000s. The book also looks at the pioneering role that women have had in the field of social work. Beth Hill, writing in Library Journal, concluded that, "owing to its specific focus, this title is recommended for history of medicine or social work collections."

Rehr told CA: "Writing reflects the thinking and experiences of the professional social worker. I believe both facets need to be tested in professional arenas. By presentation, either in writing or in professional forums, one conceptualizes one's beliefs and exposes them to open evaluation.

"The experiences of exchanges with colleagues got me to write (which did not come easily—I'm a multidraft writer on paper which helps me to crystallize what I want to say).

"Currently, in my semiretirement, I am working with young professionals and helping them to assess their ideas in authorship, which is a wonderful experience for me."



Journal of Community Health, June, 1994, Allen D. Spiegel, review of The Changing Context of Social-Health Care: Its Implications for Providers and Consumers, p. 225.

Library Journal, March 1, 2006, Beth Hill, review of The Social Work-Medicine Relationship: 100 Years at Mount Sinai, p. 111.

SciTech Book News, September, 2005, review of Baby Boomers: Can My Eighties Be Like My Fifties?.

Social Science & Medicine, June 15, 1992, Marie R. Haug, review of The Changing Context of Social-Health Care, p. 1427.


Columbia University, School of Social Work Web site, (January 14, 2008), author profile.