About Us

Betsy Swart, MSW, PhD

Director

Betsy Swart, MSW, PhD

Betsy Swart, MSW, PhD is a licensed Social Worker and Sociologist who has worked in the animal protection movement since the 1980s, serving as program director for national and international animal protection organizations. Since 1999, she has been the Executive Director of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants, the longest running study of wild elephants in the world. The Trust works to protect 1,500 elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

She completed degrees in both social work and sociology. Dr. Swart authored several papers and magazine articles on animals, women, and the environment and has presented at national and international conferences. 

As a licensed clinical social worker in private practice, she specializes in trauma and gender-based violence issues, including domestic violence, dating violence, and rape. She also counsels immigrant clients, particularly unaccompanied minors at Hope Community Center in Apopka, Florida; has worked as a clinical counselor with international clients seeking trauma-informed care at the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture in Clearwater and at SafeHouse, a domestic violence shelter in the Orlando metropolitan area.

In 2013, Dr. Swart received a Certificate of Honor from the University of Central Florida's Center for Success of Women Faculty. She has published two books: Socialization (2012) and Women's Voices from the Margins (2017), as well as numerous articles in academic journals. Women's Voices from the Margins encapsulates her work with women and children in Kibera, Kenya--the largest slum in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. Swart speaks to the overarching motivation for all her work:

"My goal has always been to address injustice, whether it is animal abuse, poverty, racism, or the situation of women in the larger social system. It has been empowering for me, both as a student and a teacher."