Faye Glenn Abdellah was born on March 13, 1919 in New York to a father of Algerian heritage and Scottish mother. Her family subsequently moved to New Jersey where she attended high school.
On May 6, 1937, she and her brother witness the explosion and destruction of the dirigible HINDENBURG. The fire subsequent to the ignited hydrogen killed many people. On an interview, she narrated, “Having no training in what to do in an emergency situation, I could only view the tragedy of the poor scorched victims exiting the dirigible. It was then that I decided that I would never again be powerless to assist when people were in so dire a need for assistance. It was at that moment that I thought that I’ve got to do something; I’ve got to become a nurse."
Following high school, she started her nursing program in Fitkin Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Neptune, New Jersey wherein she received the nursing diploma in 1942. From 1942-1944, she studied Chemistry in Rutgers University, and then furthered her education at the Teacher’s College of Columbia university in New York City in which she received her Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts and Doctor of Education Degrees. Concomitantly, she worked as a health nurse at a private school. Her first administrative position was on the faculty of Yale University from 1945-1949.
In 1949, she met Lucile Petry Leone who was the first Nurse Officer and decided to join the Public Health Service. Her first assignment was with the division of nursing that focused on research and studies. They perform studies with numerous hospitals to improve nursing practice.
During the wartime, the Public Health Service became a part of the Navy and she was assigned to work with the Korean people during the Korean War years. As a senior officer, she was alternatively assigned to Japan, China, Russia, Australia, and the Scandinavian countries to identify the role of the Public Health Service in dealing with various health...
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