Meet our Speakers


Takamura Picture (EB reduced)

Jeanette C. Takamura, MSW, PhD
Dean of Social Work at Columbia University School of Social Work
Former Assistant Secretary of Aging at US Department of Health & Human Services

Jeanette C. Takamura is the first female and the 17th dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work, the first established school of social work in the nation. Since she assumed the deanship of the School, its global, national, and local education, research, and service collaborations and initiatives have grown significantly. Nine global and national research centers were established under her leadership, among them the Global Health Research Center for Central Asia and the Caucuses; a university-wide, multidisciplinary Population Research Center; a Center on Poverty and Social Policy; a Center for Research on Fathers, Children, and Family Well-Being; a Justice Center; and the International Center for Child Health and Asset Development in Uganda, Nigeria, and other African nations; contributing to improvements in the quality of life of persons at-risk. Under her leadership, the School is collaborating with multidisciplinary scholars, institutions, and government agencies worldwide and is developing and implementing research and social programs in Jordan, China, Great Britain, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Central Asia, Palestine, the United Arab Emirates, a number of African and Latin American nations, and throughout the United States.

Prior to joining Columbia, Dean Takamura served as Assistant Secretary for Aging in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1996-2001 during the second term of the Clinton Administration. During her tenure as Assistant Secretary and as the head of the U.S. Administration on Aging, Dr. Takamura led the development of a modernized Older Americans Act and initiated the design and proposal of a new national program — the National Family Caregiver Support Program. In November 2000 the National Family Caregiver Support Program proposal was adopted as a Presidential initiative, identified as a U.S. Senate priority by the Democratic minority, and was subsequently signed into law as a part of the Older Americans Act. Under Assistant Secretary Takamura’s leadership, the Older Americans Act programs also received the largest funding increase since 1974. To ensure program and fiscal accountability in aging programs and services, she established the National Aging Performance Outcomes Measurement Program. For her efforts, she received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award and the Lucy Stone Achievement Award from the White House.

Dean Takamura is an elected fellow of the National Academy on Social Insurance, the National Academy for Public Administration, and the New York Academy of Medicine. She has served on numerous national and international advisory boards, commissions, and working groups. Dean Takamura was also the chairman of the board for the American Society on Aging and a commissioner on the National Commission for Quality Long Term Care. She was a founding commissioner of the Long Term Quality Assurance Commission on which national health, aging, and long term care leaders from the public and private sector were invited to serve. She served on the Obama Transition Team, specifically the Agency Review Team for the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2009, she was honored by the Japanese Government with The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon, for her outstanding contributions to the promotion of social welfare policies and programs that concomitantly served Asian and Japanese Americans. Earlier in her career, she held professorships in Hawaii and California. Her doctorate in social policy is from The Heller School at Brandeis University. She is a featured invited speaker at national and international conferences on health, long term care, aging, women’s issues, and higher education, most particularly professional social work education.

To meet our panelists and other speakers: download the Conference Booklet