Social Work News

Tuesday, September 25

In Memoriam Natalie R. Seltzer: August 12, 1921-April 28, 2012

Natalie R. Seltzer was one of Chicago's pioneers in social work. She had the vision to see that practice, research, and education needed to be linked and that this could be done from any of those settings. She first implemented this philosophy while working for the Illinois Department of Mental Health (DMH) as a special assistant to the director. The Washington Boulevard Mental Health Center was the only traditional outpatient center run by DMH that served the inner city of Chicago and was a training ground for clinicians of various disciplines as well as producing several pivotal studies. 

She continued this vision when she became director and head of the Department of Medical Social Work at the University of Illinois Medical Center in 1977. The department had the first demonstration prevention grant from the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and developed and housed both the Midwest AIDS Training and Education Center and the Illinois Geriatric Education Center. She encouraged her staff to go beyond basic treatment services whether it be medical or psychiatric services. She was a mentor to many and a model for integrity, knowledge, and service in our profession. In addition she taught health social work at Jane Addams College of Social Work and fostered a wide array of research in areas such as mental health, children and family issues, HIV/AIDS, and gerontology. 

Natalie was also active in the NASW Illinois Chapter. She was a leader on the Health Committee in the 1970s and encouraged others to be involved in association issues as well as in political action. She actively worked to get a woman representative elected to the state legislature, Rosemary Mulligan, when electing a woman was rare. 

After her retirement, Natalie became a member of the Advisory Council of Age Options, the Suburban Cook County Area Agency on Aging. She also traveled extensively and continued to be active in community and cultural affairs.

Posted on 09/25/12 at 03:20 PM


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