NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
E. Aracelis Francis
Pioneering Contributions: Dr. E. Aracelis Francis has spent her career of over 50 years advocating for and mentoring minority students in the social work field, students who have gone on to effect change in their own ways. As the Director of the CSWE Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), Francis has assisted over 400 students in graduating since its inception. Francis’s work has led an increase in the number of minority social worker faculty at schools across the country. Francis worked with NIH and SAMHSA to continue the MFP’s funding, writing continuations and proposals, serving on review panels, acting as a spokesperson for the program, and continuing to evolve the MFP Program in new and innovative ways. Francis has served as the co-coordinator and contractor of a CSWE/NASW Managed Care Project from August 1995 to August 1997, awarded by the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. She has been a principle investigator on the NIMH Research Fellowships from 1985 to 2007, the SAMHSA Minority Fellowships from 1992 to 2007, and the ADAMHA Minority Fellowships from 1985 to 1992. Francis also frequently travels abroad to help expand the reach of the social work profession not only in the Virgin Islands, but also in the rest of the Caribbean and Europe. She currently serves as an associate professor of Social Work at the University of the Virgin Islands. Francis has not only helped to shape the institutions that she has worked at as her career advanced, but has also guided the students who she has given opportunity and her wisdom to.
Career Highlights: Early in her career while living in St. Thomas, VI, Francis was a Child Welfare practitioner and upon the completion of her masters’ degree from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration she served as Chief of the Bureau of Day Care Services, Department of Social Welfare. She was an assistant professor at Adelphi University in Long Island and returned to the Virgin Islands to serve as Executive Director of the Office of Planning and Development. In collaboration with Adelphi University Master’s program for departmental employees was established and 30 employees secured their masters digress in social work. She moved to the United States to accept a position as an HHS Fellow where she worked in the Office of Refugee Resettlement at the federal Department of Health and Human Services. She then served as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and served as a lecturer at Howard University during her time at CSWE. Francis then stepped up to assume the position of Interim Director, then Director of the then newly established CSWE Office of Social Work Education and Research from 2004-2007, while continuing her work as Director of the MFP.
Biographic Data: Dr. E. Aracelis Francis was born December 2, 1939 and raised on the Island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands. She has spent most of her career working in the United States, but she maintained her roots in St. Thomas, where she currently lives and works. She has been elected to three leadership positions for NASW, first in the Virgin Islands from 1978-1980, second in Washington DC from 1994-1996, and again in the Virgin Islands Chapter from 2013-2015. Francis received her BA from Inter-American University in Social Sciences in 1960, her AM from the University Of Chicago School Of Social Service Administration in Social Casework in 1964 and her PhD from the Columbia University School of Social Work in 1979.
Significant Achievements & Awards Received: 1960 - Inter-American University, BA, Magna cum Laude; 1962-64 Child Welfare Services Grant-in-Aid Scholarship; 1967-69 National Institute of Mental Health Traineeship; 1969-70 Child Welfare Traineeship; 1980-81, Department of Health and Human Services Fellow; Spring 2005, Columbia University School of Social Work Distinguished Alumna
Significant Publications: Jerome Schiele and E. Aracelis Francis. "The Status of Former CSWE Ethnic Minority Doctoral Fellows in Social Work Academia, Journal of Social Work Education, 32(1): 31-44, 1996.
"Ethnic Minority Social Work Mental Health Training Programs: An Assessment of the Experience". Journal of Multicultural Social Work, vol. 1, No. 4, 1992.