NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Elizabeth Healy Ross (1902 - 1969)
Elizabeth Healy Ross was the Secretary of the Service Office of the American Association of Psychiatric Social Work (AAPSW) during WWII, her position funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. Its purpose was to develop military classifications for social workers drafted into the armed services. Her efforts helped establish psychiatric social work as a military category and enabled a large number of social workers to be assigned to mental health-related duties.
Ross did her early work in Philadelphia's Child Guidance Clinic from 1927 to 1928 and again from 1929 to 1930. She served as a staff member at the Bank Street College of Education in New York from 1930 to 1938 and as a part-time faculty member at the Pennsylvania School of Social Work from 1939 to 1942.
Ross joined the Surgeon General of the Army’s Office following World War II and transferred to the Veteran’s Administration from 1946 to 1949. She worked at the Board of Public Welfare in Washington, DC. and completed her government service as a deputy chief at the Children’s Bureau from 1952 to 1958.
Ross earned her MSW from Smith College in 1927. She received her AB from the University of Minnesota in 1925.
Significant Achievements and Awards
Elizabeth Ross was a staff member of the Fact Finding Committee of the Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth in 1950.