NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
Elizabeth Pathy Salett (1937 - )
Elizabeth Pathy Salett has been a pioneer in the field of international counseling and multicultural services for more than 30 years. As a founder and past president of the National MultiCultural Institute from 1990-2012, Salett contributed to increasing understanding and communication among persons of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. Her work drew more than 50,000 participants to the Institute.
Salett’s work at the macro level has addressed issues of and solutions to poverty, inequality, and inadequate education. She also has addressed human trafficking and slavery through the O.L. Pathy Family Foundation. As a founder and past president of the International Counseling Center, she developed a mental health referral network with 35 clinicians speaking 25 languages to serve the Washington, DC area. It was one of the first such resources in the country helping to link schools, hospitals, mental health centers, and embassies with mental health practitioners who could speak different languages and understand other cultures.
Salett determined the need for multi-lingual services for the large international community in Washington, DC in the 1980’s. She followed this up with the founding of the National Multicultural Institute. She also served as both a board member of NASW and as a member of the International Committee of NASW.
Salett’s local work includes practicing as a psychotherapist in the Howard County Bureau of Mental Health from 1979-1983, at Baltimore’s Department of Social Services as a child abuse specialist from 1977-1979, and as a program development specialist in the State Department of Community Affairs in Trenton, NJ, from 1968-1972.
Salett’s international work includes Operations Officer at Brazil’s Peace Corps office from 1965-66 and as a staff member in the Brazil Peace Corps office from 1962-1965.
Elizabeth Pathy Salett received her BA from Wellesley College, her MSW from the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work and Community Planning, and an MA from Columbia University’s Teachers College in international education.
Salett is fluent in French and also speaks Spanish and Hungarian. She grew up in Egypt and has traveled extensively throughout Europe and South America.
In addition to her service to the international community and to abused and neglected children, Salett founded and was the president of the Trenton Environmental Coalition from 1971-1973.
Significant Achievements and Awards
2012 – Advisory board member of the International Multicultural Institute
2010-2012: Board member, National MultiCultural Institute
2003-2005: Metro Washington, DC Board of Directors, NASW
2004-2006: International Committee of the NASW
1999-2005: Founder and board member, Diversity Leadership Forum
1997-2002: Advisory board member, Foreign Service Youth Foundation
1982-1988: Board member, Grassroots Crisis Intervention and Peer Counseling Center, Inc. (Columbia, MD)
1978-1980: Board member, Runaway House (Washington, DC)
Salett, E.P. Human trafficking and modern-day slavery. NASW Practice Update on Human Rights and International
Affairs, November 2006.
Salett, E.P. & Koslow, D.R. (Eds.), Race, Ethnicity, and Self: Identity in Multicultural Perspective (1994, 2nd edition 2003). Washington, DC:National Multicultural Institute.
Salett, E.P. & Koslow, D.R. (eds.), Crossing Culture in Mental Health (2001). Washington, DC:National Multicultural Institute.