It was founded in 1912 by American born Henrietta Szold, who was so deeply moved by witnessing the poverty and sickness in Jerusalem, that she founded a women's organization to provide medical aid.
The first two nurses arrived in 1913, followed by a full-scale medical team. The organization set up well-baby clinics and infirmaries and later hospitals were set up all over Israel. A nursing school, medical school, school of pharmacy, school for dentistry, school of public health and school of occupational therapy were established. While the volunteers of Hadassah worked to gather funds for this expanding health network, Hadassah's membership grew to hundreds of thousands of women in all fifty states of the United States.