The School’s first female dean (2002–2016), Dr. Takamura served as Assistant Secretary of Aging under Donna Shalala in the second Clinton administration. She has blazed a trail in the areas of elderly rights policy and advocacy.
Jeanette C. Takamura is professor and dean emerita of the Columbia School of Social Work, where she served as the School’s first female dean. Much of her life’s work has been dedicated to the advancement of national and state policies and programs in aging, health, and related areas, as well as organizational change to ensure relevance and competitiveness within a global environment. During her tenure as dean, nine research centers were established, the majority with international or global foci.
Dr. Takamura served as the assistant secretary for aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1997 to 2001. There, she led the development and enactment of a modernized Older Americans Act and established the National Family Caregiver Support Program, the federal government’s first formal recognition of the significant contributions and needs of family caregivers. Recognizing the challenges and opportunities presented by the coming of age of the baby boom population, she also spearheaded an initiative to lay the foundation for aging policy, program coordination, and collaboration across executive branch departments and agencies for the first decade of an increasingly global millennium.
Early in her career, Dr. Takamura was a practicing social worker serving youth and families. She held senior executive positions in the Hawaii state government and faculty and administrative appointments in higher education in Hawaii and California. She has served on numerous national and international boards, commissions, and working groups, and is a fellow of the National Academic for Public Administration and the National Academy for Social Insurance. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Lucy Stone Award from the White House for her advocacy on behalf of older women and the enactment of the National Family Caregiver Support Program. In 2006, she was named a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation, the premier professional association for social workers.
Dr. Takamura holds a bachelor’s degree in Political science and Sociology and a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Hawaii, and a PhD in Social Policy from Brandeis University.