Women in Medicine

Why does history matter?  Pretty simple, really.  If you don’t know where you came from, how do you  know where  you are or where you’re going?

Do the names Blackwell, Preston, Crumpler, Walker, or Picotte mean anything to you?  How about Gerty Cori?  Helen Dunbar?  If not, please read.

Courtesy of Medscape, here’s a brief synopsis of these and other pioneers.

  • Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn a medical degree in the US (1849).blackwell

“Dr Blackwell decided to become a doctor when a dying friend confided that she would have suffered less had her physician been a woman.”

  •   Dr. Ann Preston, the first female dean of a medical school in the US, in Philadelphia.

“Frequently the target of attack, the College nevertheless thrived under Preston’s guidance and with the support of an advisory board of “lady managers”—wealthy supporters solicited by Dr Preston. The College itself blazed trails by training the imagesfirst black and Native American female doctors. Under Dr Blackwell’s guidance, the College also created social programs meant to educate poor women about hygiene and physiology.”

  • Dr. Rebecca Crumpler, the first black female doctor.  She moved from Boston to crumplerRichmond in 1865 to provide care for freed slaves.




  • Dr. Mary Walker, first female surgeon and first female surgeon in the US Army.


  • Dr. Susan Picotte, first Native American female doctor

“As a child, La Flesche Picotte decided on a career in medicine after witnessing an Indian patient die because a white doctor had refused to give her care.”picotte




  • Dr. Gerty Cori, winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine, 1947.
  • Dr. Helen Taussig, first female president of the American Heart Association.
  • Dr. Helen Dunbar

“The influential psychiatrist Helen Flanders Dunbar, MD, PhD, considered the ‘mother of holistic medicine,’ pioneered theories of psychosomatic medicine and psychobiology and was a leader in the pastoral care movement.”

  • Dr. Virginia Apgar, created the Apgar score for evaluating newborn.  First woman to become full professor in the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons (1949).
  • Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, pioneer in the study of death, dying and grief.
  • Dr. Audrey Evans, pioneer in study of childhood cancers.
  • Dr. Patricia Bath, founded the discipline of community ophthalmology.
  • Dr. Antonia Novello, first female and first Hispanic to become Surgeon General of the US.
  • Dr. Nancy Dickey, first female president of the American Medical Association.


Source:  http://www.medscape.com/features/slideshow/women-physicians?nlid=112540_1521&src=WNL_mdplsfeat_170207_mscpedit_wir&uac=153634BV&spon=17&impID=1286195&faf=1#page=1


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