History of the Mount Sinai Auxiliary Board

The Mount Sinai Auxiliary Board, originally called the Social Service Auxiliary, was founded in 1916 by Edith Altschul Lehman.

Edith Altschul Lehman married Herbert H. Lehman, a New York State governor and senator, and was a passionate social activist and philanthropist. Her lasting impact on The Mount Sinai Hospital was a product of her own strong sense of volunteerism and Jewish women’s philanthropy.

At the turn of the century, women’s divisions or auxiliaries of large institutions were quite common. Although women were not necessarily included in the power structures of organizations such as hospitals, orphanages, and old age homes, their contributions were critical in creating new organizations and initiating new programs. Edith Altschul Lehman’s success in organizing a lay social service committee to take care of the family needs of hospitalized patients led to the establishment of The Mount Sinai Hospital’s first professional social service department.

At its founding in 1916, the original Social Service Auxiliary was a group of 19 women who visited patients’ homes, worked in and supported outpatient clinics, and provided food and financial help to patients’ families in need. From 1954 to 1974, the group was known as the Women’s Auxiliary Board. In 1974, it was renamed the Mount Sinai Auxiliary Board and officially became a joint committee of the Boards of Trustees of The Mount Sinai Hospital and the School of Medicine. The president of the Auxiliary Board serves as an ex-officio Member of the Mount Sinai Boards of Trustees.

The Auxiliary Board uses its own funds to complement the hospital's clinical activities with a variety of social and educational services. Access to care and equitable treatment have always been board priorities. Our board members generously donate their time, expertise, and money to further the welfare, health, and compassionate care of patients and their families during hospitalization and after discharge. Over the past half century, the Auxiliary Board has been involved in the creation and support of many innovative projects and programs that have been integrated into The Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine, as well as replicated around the country.