Mary Elizabeth Switzer


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(1900–1971) Mary Elizabeth Switzer's 20-year administration of major federal social agencies influenced the evolution and expansion of federally funded services to those in need. Born in Newton, Massachusetts, she graduated from Radcliffe College in 1921. Her federal career began as an assistant secretary with the Minimum Wage Board in Washington, DC. In 1934 she worked with the assistant secretary of the treasury, who supervised the U.S. Public Health Service. Here Switzer developed a concern for the delivery of health, medical, and social services and served in several administrative positions over a 16-year period. In 1950 she was named director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR) in the Federal Security Agency (later the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare). For the next few years she was successful in increasing and improving services to people with disabilities.


From Encyclopedia of Social Work in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Social Work.

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