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Community Health Nurses

History

Community health nursing in the United States began in the late 1800s. Wealthy donors funded health education programs in poor communities. Government agencies also began funding health education and care programs that improved the lives of the poor or those who did not have access to health care.

Lillian Wald—a nurse, humanitarian, and author—is considered the first public health nurse. She cared for poor people in New York City and founded the Henry Street Settlement, a groundbreaking social service agency that is still in operation today.

The American Public Health Association was founded in 1872 to improve public health around the world. Community health nurses continue to play an important role in public health today—especially in poor and underserved areas.

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