Louise Doss Martin is an accomplished mental health and public health social worker who spent more than 50 years as a clinician, academic researcher and international consultant. Embarking on her studies at the University of Chicago, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science in 1959, followed by a Master of Arts in psychiatric social work in 1963. Notably, she was one of the youngest members of her class and one of the first African American women to receive a graduate degree from the University of Chicago. Ms. Martin was recognized for her achievements with the Top Alumni Award in 2022.
Early on in her career, Ms. Martin served as the director of social work for the Community Health Centers in North Lawndale, Illinois, and spent five years as a psychiatric social worker with Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In 1990, she joined the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, rising to become a captain in the Department of Health and Human Services by the time she retired in 2006. During her career, she sought to further her education and joined Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was awarded a Mandel fellowship and completed a Doctor of Philosophy, all but dissertation.
As a result of her research, Ms. Martin has authored numerous book chapters and articles, including a chapter for a book that was published in Russia. Her excellence has been recognized by the social work section of the American Public Health Association and with a Social Worker of the Year Award. She has also donated her skills to a wide range of community development work, such as program development and social and public health policy and planning. In the 1960s, she was involved with the Chicago Freedom Movement and has long been an advocate of universal health care. Although she is retired, Ms. Martin remains active with the NAACP, the Poor People’s Campaign, the Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ and the National Association of Black Social Workers.