NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Elizabeth Prichard (1915 - 2004)
Elizabeth Prichard developed one of the largest and most highly-regarded hospital social work departments in the country at New York City's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. She was especially effective in expanding the concept of social work participation in “siloed” disciplinary treatment teams to include all relevant staff at the hospital. She was one of the first social workers in an academic medical setting to be appointed assistant professor in the department of medicine.
Prichard was at the forefront of treatment for the terminally ill and identifying the key role for social work in death and dying, introducing the need to work with families in their grief and bereavement. She expanded discharge planning to include follow-up with the bereaved families, a first in the 1950’s.
Prichard was Director of Social Services at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital from 1955 to 1981. She arrived at the department in 1949. She also held appointments at the Columbia University School of Social Work and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Elizabeth Prichard earned her MSW from Columbia University School of Social Work in 1947. She received her BA from Adelphi University 1943.
Significant Achievements and Awards
Elizabeth Prichard was active in the former American Association of Medical Social Work and later with NASW’s New York City chapter.
She was also active at the Foundation of Thanatology and published extensively on death and dying.
Prichard, E. R. and Lilian Kutscher, Editors. (1979). Home Care: Living with Dying. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Prichard, E.R. (1977). Social work with the dying patient and the family. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.