Lillian Wald

Lillian Wald originated the public health nursing service and the Henry Street Settlement to meet the needs of the poor in New York City’s Lower East Side.

During the early twentieth century, this outstanding nurse and social activist was a dynamic force for social reform, creating widely adopted models of public health and social service programs.

Wald’s nursing education in New York showed her that tenement residents lacked health care, and so she organized the Henry Street Nurses Settlement (1893), the first public health nursing program in the nation. Wald went on to help organize other public health nursing programs in universities and for organizations, including the American Red Cross.

She was the first president of the National Organization of Public Health Nurses, a professional group she helped to create. Recognizing that the urban poor had great needs beyond health care, Wald expanded Henry Street services to include social services, especially those benefitting children. She led the charge to abolish child labor and helped secure the creation of the federal Children’s Bureau
in 1912.

Year Honored: 1993
Birth: 1867 - 1940
Born In: Ohio
Achievements: Science
Worked In: New York, United States of America
Educated In: New York, United States of America
Schools Attended: Miss Cruttenden's English-French Boarding and Day School, New York Hospital Training School, Woman's Medical College