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Sophie Rabinoff

Sophie Rabinoff used the skills she honed as a doctor in Palestine to improve health care in some of the worst slums in New York. Rabinoff earned her doctorate from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1913. She spent three years as a resident at the New York Home for Infants, researching childhood diseases like rickets and diphtheria. She was the only female physician in the first group of Henrietta Szold’s American Zionist Medical Unit in 1918, which created the first clinic in Palestine for Jewish and Arab children. She returned to the US in 1919 and by 1921 was working as a pediatrician for the New York Department of Health. In 1934 she became a health officer for the city, organizing and overseeing health districts—by 1944 she was senior health official for three districts in the Bronx, responding to the needs of half a million people. In 1947 she focused on East Harlem’s high rates of tuberculosis and infant mortality, collaborating with community leaders to establish health education, inoculation programs, and medical care in the district. From 1939–1957 she taught public health at New York Medical College, rising to become director of their department of public health in 1951.

Sophie Rabinoff in Uniform, 1918
Full image
Sophie Rabinoff in London, July 20, 1918.
Courtesy of Jennifer Arnold
Photo by Martin & Sallnow, 16 Piccadilly, London, W
Date of Birth
May 19, 1899
Place of Birth
Date of Death
October 2, 1957

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Sophie Rabinoff." (Viewed on October 22, 2018) <>.


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