NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Elizabeth Reichert (1916 - 2004)
Elizabeth (Betty) Reichert was born in Monaca, P A, in 1916. She received her A.B. at Ohio University, graduating Summa Cum Laude and being conducted into Phi Beta Kappa.
Betty Reichert was an early pioneer in family life education (1949-1952), offering this as a family service to a wide range of community groups and spearheading a network of family life education providers. She and her husband collaborated on a broadcast interview series on family and social problems, "Let's Face It", for which they received a national award in 1951. The Reicherts' main contributions were in the health field as program planners, administrators, teachers, and writers. Because of Kurt's moving from one location to another nationally and internationally, Betty developed her own career with steadily increasing scope and responsibilities. The lived in Chicago, Minneapolis, Albany, the Philadelphia area, San Diego, and Germany.
Betty trained volunteer CIO union counselors while employed in the United Charities in Chicago (1943-8), initiated the use of volunteers in her work with mentally ill, retarded, and multihandicapped children in several agencies (1952-62), and on the Board of the Volunteer Bureau of the United Way in San Diego (1970-7) focused on the use of volunteers in new areas, including public service. Both Betty and Kurt in several of their positions emphasized the involvement of volunteers in all phases of health planning. Both were instrumental in furthering the integration of health and social services. Betty, in the Albany Palsy Center (1956-62) involved all disciplines in the delivery of family-centered developmental services for which she received a special Award for Interprofessional Communication by the Optometric Society. She initiated a community centered approach for the Health Services Center at Temple University (1964-7), and developed social aspects of health planning as Associate Director of the New York State Health Planning Commission (1969-70) and at the Comprehensive Planning Organization of San Diego, where she authored the first regional plan in California (12971-4). Under the auspices Of a public health nursing agency in San Diego, she developed and directed a multi-discipline model rural health project (1974-7).
The latter part of the Reicherts' careers was devoted to the education of social workers. Prior to their retiring they were both at the San Diego State University, Kurt as Dean, and Betty a member of the faculty. After their retirement in 1981 the Reicherts jointly received an award as Social Work Educators of the Year by the California Chapter of NASW. Betty continued some private practice and volunteer activities in social work after her retirement.