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Hansan, John E., Ph.D.

John E. Hansan, Ph.D. (1930 – 2019) was a career social worker with a doctorate in social welfare policy from Brandeis University. He worked for 45 years in human service programs at the local, state, and national levels. His early career was staffing and directing settlement houses in Kansas City, MO, Philadelphia, PA, Peoria, IL and Cincinnati, OH. While in Cincinnati, Hansan helped organize the city’s 500-person delegation to the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In 1964, he was selected to be one of the nation’s first directors of a community action program, the Community Action Commission of the Cincinnati Area. In 1971, Hansan was appointed by Ohio Governor John J. Gilligan to be director of the Ohio Department of Public Welfare; and, two years later, he was appointed Chief of Staff to Governor Gilligan. In 2019, Hansan was selected for induction into the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

On the national level, Hansan served as director of government affairs for the American Public Welfare Assn., Executive Director of the National Conference on Social Welfare, and Interim Director of the National Association of Social Workers. He was the author or co-editor of four books, including: Welfare Reform 1996-2000: Is There a Safety Net? (Auburn House, 1999); Personal Assistance: The Future of Home Care (Johns Hopkins Press, 1998); The National Government and Social Welfare: What Should Be the Role of the Federal Government (Auburn House, 1997); 365 Ways…Retirees’ Resource Guide for Productive Lifestyles (Greenwood Press, 1996). Hansan’s papers are held by the Social Welfare History Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries.

2 Replies to “Hansan, John E., Ph.D.”

  1. Hello Dr. Hansan – I’m a social worker and adjunct professor at VCU School of Social Work. I happened to come across this site while researching for my lectures this semester in Foundation Social Policy, and I wanted to say thank you to you and your colleagues for creating it! I’m both a policy wonk and a history buff – which is why I love teaching policy – and this Web site is right up my alley. I especially found interesting your article “Redefining the Federal Role in Social Welfare: 1995” – have you considered updating it to reflect changes in the Tea Party era? It would certainly be assigned reading for my class. 🙂

    P.S. You won’t remember me, but in 1999 I took a course with you at VCU – it was MSw Concentration Social Policy course on families in poverty. It was nice coincidence to see your name again!

    • Dear Ms. Thissen: Many thanks for kind words about the SWH web site and your memory of my class at No.VA VCU. I am pleased to learn of your position at Howard U. and your interest in social policy. It is my opinion too few social workers are seriously interested in this aspect of our profession.

      In connection with my 1995 paper, I no longer have the time and resources to undertake an update. In one sense, what we are witnessing at the national level today is simply an extension of the thesis Bob Morris and I posited in that paper.

      Best wishes for your continuing growth and success in your career. Jack Hansan

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