For Immediate Release

December 2, 2009

New York, NY – Professor Jeanette C. Takamura, Dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work will be honored 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 and the status of Japanese Americans. First awarded in 1875, the Order is the second highest honor that has been bestowed upon persons who are not citizens of Japan since 1981. Women have been among those honored since 2003.

The conferment ceremony for Dean Takamura will take place at the official residence of the Japanese Ambassador and Consul-General in New York on December 2nd.

From 1997 to 2001, Dr. Takamura was assistant secretary for aging at the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before this, she was the first deputy (chief operating officer) of the Hawaii State Department of Health.

Dr. Takamura has led aging, health, long term care, and higher education programs in Hawaii, California, and New York. As a U.S. Senate confirmed Presidential appointee, she developed and administered federal aging policies and programs authorized by the Older Americans Act. In the foregoing positions, she has contributed to the promotion of health and social welfare in the U.S., primarily for older Americans and their family caregivers, including for persons of Japanese American ancestry. She is widely known for having initiated the design and proposal of the National Family Caregiver Support Program, which was enacted and signed into law in 2000 as a part of the reauthorized Older Americans Act. For nearly a decade, the National Family Caregiver Support Program has stimulated heightened visibility around the invaluable informal support provided to frail and vulnerable persons by family members. It has also called attention to the inadequately addressed needs of these family caregivers and spurred research, other major public and private sector caregiver initiatives, and resource development dedicated to better serving both care recipients and their caregivers. While Dr. Takamura was assistant secretary for aging, an Executive Branch-wide planning effort was undertaken to establish a cross-cutting federal aging agenda for the 21st century.

Dr. Takamura has encouraged the social advancement of Japanese Americans and other Asian Americans through her example of achievement, including prominent positions in academia, government, and national organizations, boards, and commissions such as the American Society on Aging. For more than 30 years, she has identified, mentored, and developed promising younger individuals, among who were junior professionals and students, encouraging many of them to pursue higher education, to assume leadership positions in the public and private sectors, and then achieve noteworthy prominence for their own special contributions. Leadership development continues to be a priority in her role as dean of the Columbia University School of Social Work.

Dr. Takamura has also played leading roles in the international sphere and collaborated on public policy and educational initiatives in a number of foreign countries for more than a decade. She worked with a Japan-based institution on global health issues and contributed to exchanges in Japan as a principal representative of the U.S. government and as an academic. As dean, she has given emphasis to global collaborations, supporting the work of faculty in the development of major research centers and educational and community service programs in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Her publications are primarily on global aging and related issues.

Dr. Takamura was named a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers. Among other memberships, Dr. Takamura is an invited fellow of the National Academy for Social Insurance, the National Academy for Public Administration, and the New York Academy of Medicine. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum and other women’s organizations. She has been a featured international and national speaker for nearly three decades. For her leadership particularly in the field of aging, Dr. Takamura has received national awards and commendations.

Dr. Takamura has a Ph.D. in social policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University and a B.A. and M.S.W. from the University of Hawaii – Manoa, where she held her first academic and higher education administration positions in the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work. Born and raised in Hawaii, where her grandparents migrated from Kumamoto and Hiroshima, Japan, she is the daughter of Jiro Chikamoto and the late Jane Ishida Chikamoto. Dr. Takamura is married to Carl Takamura and has one daughter, Mari Leigh Takamura.

For media inquiries, please contact Jeannie Hii via email or 212-851-2327 at CUSSW or Keiko Miura via e-mail or 212-418-4487 at Consulate General of Japan in New York.

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