Strang was founded in 1933 as the Kate Depew Strang Clinic at the New York Infirmary on 15th Street by Dr. Elise Strang L’Esperance and opened by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. It was funded by her uncle New York Central Railroad magnate and US senator Chauncey Depew. It was staffed by female physicians.
In the 1920’s Dr. L’Esperance began her career working with Dr. James Ewing the world renowned cancer pathologist at Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied diseases in Manhattan. She then became the first woman graduate from the Department of Pathology at Cornell University Medical College.
She collaborated with Drs. George Papanicolaou, a medical scientist at Cornell University who was researching changes in uterine cervix cells in the belief that they could detect early cervical cancer, and Dr. May Edward Chinn who studied cytological methods for cancer detection at its earliest stages. The gynecologists during that period did not believe it possible. This breakthrough resulted in the Pap test; in 1940 Strang was the first medical facility to introduce this test into clinical practice. The Pap test for early detection of cervical cancer continues to save millions of women’s lives worldwide.
Dr. L’Esperance became Professor of Preventive Medicine at Cornell University Medical College. She was recognized for her pioneering work by being awarded the first Lasker Prize in Medicine.
Elise Strang L’Esperance MD
In 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt (right) accompanied by Miss May Strang (left) opened the Kate Depew Strang Clinic