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About Ram A Cnaan

Dr. Ram Cnaan is a professor, associate dean for research, and chair of the Doctoral Program in Social Welfare at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice. He received his doctorate from the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, and his B.S.W. and M.S.W. from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Cnaan has published numerous articles in scientific journals on a variety of social issues. He is the author of: The Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership (Columbia University Press, 1999) and: The Invisible Caring Hand: American Congregations and the Provision of Welfare (New York University Press, 2002). The former book discussed the need to link social work with religious social services providers. The latter book discusses how American congregations became the hidden safety net of the American welfare system. Dr. Cnaan's 2006 book deals with congregations in one large city, titled: The Other Philadelphia Story: How Local Congregations Support Quality of Life in Urban America (University of Pennsylvania Press). Along with Professor Carl Milofsky from Bucknell University, professor Cnaan edited the Handbook of Community Movements and Local Organizations (2006; Springer's series of Handbooks of Sociology). This volume aims to capture the field of community practice from a theoretical and conceptual levels using knowledge from a multidisciplinary approaches. Finally, along with Professor Stephanie C. Boddie from Washington University, Professor Cnaan edited Faith-Based Social Services: Measures, Assessments, and Effectiveness (forthcoming, Haworth Press). This volume provides the first systematic review of the effectiveness of faith-based organizations.
Dr. Cnaan is the director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research (PRSPR) at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. He carried out the first national study on the role of local religious congregations in the provision of social services and introduced an innovative new course on social work and religion. He is considered a leading expert in studying faith-based social services. He also carried the first ever census of congregations in an American city (Philadelphia). Dr. Cnaan is also known as an international expert on nonprofit organizations and voluntary action with a specialty in the study of volunteerism. He studied the role of volunteers in human services, volunteer management, and volunteerism as a social construct. Previously, Dr. Cnaan researched and published in the areas of information technology in social work practice, mentally-ill homeless persons, and practice evaluation. Dr. Cnaan serves on the editorial board of seven academic journals.


Present Associate Dean for Research, Professor, and Chair of the Doctoral Program in Social Welfare, University of Pennsylvania

Curriculum Vitae

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Contact Information

3701 Locust Walk
Caster Building Room D19
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
PHONE: 215.898.5523


Housing and Community Development (1)

Race and Social Welfare (1)

Governance and Politics (1)

No Subject Area (20)