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In 1945, when New York City’s Hospital for Joint Diseases was located in Harlem, a “training school” for practical nurses was established. In 1955, after the school received a grant from the Helene Fuld Health Foundation, the Hospital named the school “The Helene Fuld School of Nursing”. Dr. Leonhard Felix Fuld, a New York City public health advocate and philanthropist, and his sister, Florentine, created the foundation in memory of their mother, Helene Schwab Fuld, a health care crusader in the 1880’s.

Helene Fuld has always been at the forefront of nursing education. In 1964, the school started the first program in the country for licensed practical nurses to become diploma registered nurses. In 1975, when it received its permanent charter from New York State with the authority to confer the Associate in Applied Science degree in nursing, the school became one of the first hospital-based schools in the country to offer the associate degree. In 1981, Helene Fuld also became the first hospital-based associate degree program to be accredited by the National League for Nursing and in 1988 it became the first hospital-based nursing school to become accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.  

In October 1978, the original practical nursing program terminated after having educated almost 300 practical nurses. The Hospital for Joint Diseases became known as Joint Diseases North General Hospital in 1979 and was then renamed North General Hospital in 1990. In February 1996, with the permission of the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, the name “Helene Fuld School of Nursing” was changed to “Helene Fuld College of Nursing”. It was felt that this name better reflected the College's standing as an institution of higher education.

In July 2007, the College separated from North General hospital and was established as an independent not-for-profit College under the authority of the New York State Board of Regents. 

In early 2012, the College received approval from the New York State Department of Education to confer the Bachelor of Science degree on registered nurses. The degree emphasizes environmental urban health nursing. The College currently occupies 34,000 square feet of space on Bethel Gospel Assembly churches’ third and fourth floors. There are approximately 350 full- and part-time students enrolled in the associate degree and upper division baccalaureate programs.

Helene Fuld Health Trust

In 1935, Dr. Leonhard Felix Fuld, a public health advocate and philanthropist, established the Helene Fuld Health Foundation, which provided monies for the education, health, and welfare of student nurses. In 1969, after Dr. Fuld's death, the Foundation was dissolved according to his instructions, and its assets were transferred to the Helene Fuld Health Trust. Currently, the sole trustee of the Fuld Trust is HSBC Bank, USA. Helene Fuld College of Nursing has been associated with the Trust since 1955 and has received grants for scholarships, building renovations, and equipment.