NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Francis C. (Frank) Beck (1912 - 2001)
Francis (Frank) Beck made pioneering contributions to social work as a senior level federal policy analyst and program implementer. An officer in the Public Health Service, Beck occupied a number of high-level policy-making and planning positions at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare from 1962 to 1979. Some of the more notable included Associate Bureau Director of the Office for State Program Coordination and Chief of Policies and Standards Branch of the Bureau of Community Health Services at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He also served as Deputy Associate Bureau Director of the National Health Service Corp and the Chief of Policy and Regulations Branch at the Division of Health Care Services.
He later consulted on granting aid to all state mental health programs. He helped develop both health planning and community health service programs until his retirement in 1979. In addition to his policy positions, he was instrumental in recruiting, training, and assigning doctors, dentists, and nurses to critical shortage areas throughout the United States in the mid-1970’s. His efforts helped determine the impact of regulations, guidelines, policies, and procedures on operations and provided the national administrative focus for state formula grant-supported health service programs.
Beck began his professional life during the Great Depression working with migrant farm workers through the Farm Security Administration. After returning to school and earning his MSW, Beck spent five years with the New York Psychoanalytic Institute as a social worker before becoming Chief Psychiatric Social Worker at a mental health clinic in Brooklyn in 1953.
His work as a psychiatric social work consultant at DHEW from 1955-60 included reviewing state mental health plans, planning and organizing technical assistance projects, and advising the Director of the USPHS Demonstration Center on follow-up and referral programs for those with narcotic addictions.
Beck received his Bachelors in Theology from Northwest Christian College in 1934 and his BS from the University of Oregon in 1939. He earned his MSSW from Columbia University in 1948. He completed course work for his Doctorate of Social Welfare in1962, minus the dissertation. He and his wife retired to the Broadmead Friends Lifetime Care Center of Baltimore, where they both continued a life of service, this time as volunteers. He was President of the Residents’ Association in 1986-87, Second Vice President from 1984-86, and Chairman of various committees. He also coordinated social groups and the Wood Shop Workers at Broadmead.
Significant Achievements and Honors
Frank Beck served on several professional, community and state-level commissions. These included membership on several committees of the American Association of Psychiatric Social Workers from 1948-53; as a contributor to the Social Work Yearbook of 1954 of the American Association of Social Workers; a charter member of the NASW; and a Fellow of the American Orthopsychiatric Association.
Beck also served on the Community Council of Great New York from 1956-60 and as a Psychiatric Social Work panel member on the Governor’s Prison Commission of New York State in 1957.