Lillian Wald’s contribution to social work



According to research evidence from the Virginia Commonwealth University (Hansan, 2012), Lillian Wald is one of the most recognized female social worker of all times. She has consequently been awarded different accolades including been named as one of the twelve greatest living American women back in 1922 by the New York Times. Wald, a devoted public health official and social worker is hailed as been unselfishly devoted to humanity and most of her visionary programs have since her absentia been gradually implemented in social work (Edward, 2013).

Important Contributions

This section of the essay looks into some of the most important contributions of Lillian Wald’s nursing and social work career.

According to research evidence, as soon as Wald started taking lessons to become a doctor at the Women’s Medical College, she was invited to organize home nursing session at the Lower East Side immigrant settlement locations (Feld, 2015; Hansan, 2012). Hansan educates that this was the turning point in Wald’s career and the point at which she decided to devote herself into the service of humanity. Based on the suffering she had seen people exvperi3ence through the world, she was more troubled to realize that in her own country, poor health policies were leading people into suffering – especially low income immigrant families. Feld (2015) indicates that after visiting one of the families that had an ailing relative in the Lower East Side locality; it became incumbent on Wald that she had to work to bring affordable public health care to the community and other like communities. This was one of her maiden contributions to social work which has been helpful in rationalizing public health service delivery globally.

Lillian Wald is also credited with the formation of the Henry Street Settlement which apparently was an organization aimed at providing help to people in need of social service and healthcare. The organization was established in the backdrop of an ailing tenement community that Wald believed needed more care. Together with the visiting nursing program that she was carrying out, the Henry Street Settlement ensured that more and more ailing and socially troubled individuals could get direct help from an organization that cared about their welfare.

Apart from the above two contributions, research informs on the fact that Lillian Wald was responsible for taking a stand in support of women and children welfare (Fee and Bu, 2010). She is credited with the establishment of the Women’s Trade Union League an organization that viciously championed for the recognition of women and children and the safeguard of their social and economic welfare. She fought hard to stop child labor through the establishment of the Children’s Bureau. Been a avid believer in proper social life, she championed and lead the first peaceful women’s march in 1914 whose aim was to sensitize the public on the need for streamlined healthcare and public service for the people.


Depicting from the above, it is no doubt that the study of Lillian Wald and her brave contributions to transform public health and social work directly informs my practice as a social worker. The study of this female icon challenges me to be a more devoted and selfless social worker in order to serve more people and bring change to social work wherever I may work in the world.

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  1. Edwards, M. L. (2013). Wald Lillian. Oxford Research Encyclopedia. Accessed from
  2. Fee, E., & Bu, L. (2010). The Origin of Public Health Nursing. National Center for Biotechnological Information. Viewed from
  3. Feld, N. M. (2015). Lillian D Wald. Jewish Women’s Archive. Retrieved from
  4. Hansan, J. (2013). Lillian Wald, Nurse, Social Worker, Women Rights Activist and Founder of      Henry Street Settlement. Virginia Commonwealth University. Viewed from
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