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The Anita S. Harbert Outstanding Achievement in Aging Award recognizes a West Virginia social worker who has made a significant contribution to the field of aging.
Dr. Anita S. Harbert founded the Summer Institute on Aging in 1977. At that time, she was chair of the School of Social Work at West Virginia University. Harbert had the vision to start an annual professional development conference to train social service practitioners in the field of aging. She partnered with several key people to develop and launch the Institute. With the ideological and financial support of many, including Dr. Louise Gerrard, Executive Director of the West Virginia Commission on Aging, the Summer Institute on Aging was born. Building on the Institute on Aging, Harbert gathered an interdisciplinary team to launch the Gerontology Center at WVU, now known as the Center on Aging, in 1978.
Award recipients are catalysts, visionaries and advocates for the field of social work in West Virginia. They possess an appreciation of the rural culture and strength of West Virginia’s older adults and understand the challenges for facing the state’s elderly population, including isolation, lack of access, vulnerability and poverty. To overcome these challenges, they strive to build partnerships and collaborations to serve the elderly residents of West Virginia.