Henry W. Dean, the Hospital's first physician, was born in Morrisville, Madison County, New York, on August 22, 1818, and settled in Rochester in 1839. Three years later he graduated from the Geneva Medical College. In 1854, he received an honorary Master of Arts degree from the University of Rochester. From 1861 until his death he served as a member of the Board of Directors of that institution.
According to Dr. Harvey Montgomery, Dr. Dean approached him in late 1863 about offering their "gratuitous services, as physician and surgeon to the charity subjects received into this Hospital." Shortly afterwards, they were appointed as Rochester City Hospital's staff. Dr. Dean remained active on the staff until his death on January 13, 1878. (Hospital Review, 15 February 1878)
Throughout his career, Dr. Dean was active in civic institutions. Professionally he was a regular contributor to medical journals and a member of the New York State Medical Society for which he served as president in 1865.