Remembering Paul Ephross

IASWG is sad to announce the passing of long-time member, Paul H. Ephross, PhD, of Rockville, Maryland, on January, 12, 2017.

Born in Boston in 1935, Paul received his PhD from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration in 1969, and his MSW from the School of Social Work at Boston University in 1957. He received his BA from Harvard College in 1955. In the 1950’s, while studying at Boston University, he was one of only 12 students who studied community organization.  Dr. Ephross was in the first class of doctoral social work students at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Administration.

Dr. Ephross was one of the early members of IASWG. He was Secretary of the association. He attended many IASWG symposia. In 2008, at the Symposium in Cologne, Germany, IASWG proudly recognized Dr. Ephross as an IASWG International Honoree for his pioneering dedication to the field of group work.  

Paul Ephross dedicated his 40 year career to championing group work. Social group work was always at the forefront for him as he influenced more than two generations of social work students and practitioners. He wrote seven major textbooks, including: Group Work with Populations at Risk (with Greif); and Groups that Work: Structure and Process (with Vassil). His writings addressed subjects such as group work, populations at risk, and ethnicity and social work practice. 

After beginning his teaching career as an adjunct at Loyola University School of Social Work, Paul served as a faculty member of the University of Maryland School of Social Work from 1974 until his retirement (with Professor Emeritus status) in 2008. Dr. Ephross taught courses on group work, social change, ethnicity, and human behavior and the social environment; he retired with Emeritus Professor status. He directed doctoral program students at the University of Maryland, served as Chair of the Community Planning concentration from 1974-76, as well as Chair of the Social Strategy concentration from 1972-76.

His community activities encompassed membership on and advising of: the Governor’s Commission on the Sexual Exploitation of Patients by Health Professionals in 1998; the Board of Directors of Jewish College Services in Baltimore from 1994-96; the Board of Directors at Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation in Rockville, Maryland from 1994-96; the Planning Committee of the National Institute Against Prejudice and Violence in Baltimore from 1991-92; and the Executive Committee membership of the Baltimore Black-Jewish Forum from 1986-96.

He conducted trainings and was a consultant to numerous religious organizations including the B’nai B’rith International and Associated Catholic Charities of Baltimore.  He also provided training at: the International Association of Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services of Alexandria, Virginia; the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Association of Baltimore; the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Baltimore; and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Maryland School of Medicine.  

Dr. Ephross was honored as Alumnus of the Year from the School of Social Work at Boston University in 1984. He was listed in the 2001 edition of Who’s Who in the United States.

If you have memories of Paul that you would like to share, please email us at