Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives
Edna Henry was the founder and first director of the Social Service Department at IU Medical Center. She served in this capacity from 1911 to 1921. Henry was recruited by Indiana University President William Lowe Bryan to establish the new department. A well-known social worker, she had previously founded Associated Charities of Anderson.
At IU, Henry organized the new department and taught courses. She also helped to found the Indianapolis Advisory Committee of the IU Social Services Department, a group that oversaw dispensary work. Henry also served as the first president of the American Association of Hospital Social Workers and the First treasurer of the Marion County Tuberculosis Association.
At the close of World War I, Henry was invited to Washington D.C. to organize medical social service work in the army. She took a leave of absence from the Medical Center and served a term as supervisor of reconstruction aids in the Surgeon General’s office. Henry retired as director of the Indiana University department in 1921, but continued to teach social work classes until 1926.
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