If you go into any hospital, medical complex or health clinic and no one is surprised if they happen to be seen by a women medical practitioner. Women work in a variety of positions throughout the field of medicine, but this has not been without a huge struggle to reach this point and it is still not always easy. Below is an outline of those the pioneered and paved the way for women in medicine. This gives a good perspective on how far we have come and that we need to be grateful to those fought hard for what they believed in.
1847 – Harriet Hunt…The first woman to submit her application to Harvard Medical School was submitted by Oliver Wendell Holmes, who was then dean, the faculty agreed but the students objected. Eventually she her persistence allowed her to obtain an M.D. degree in Syracuse as a homeopathic physician. She even became a professor of midwifery and of diseases of women and children at Rochester College.
1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell…Was turned down by several schools, but persisted until she gained admission to The Geneva College of Medicine and became the first woman in the US to receive her medical degree.
1850 – The first medical college for women opens…The Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania
1857 – The first hospital operated by women is established…The New York Infirmary for Women and Children
1864 – Rebecca Lee Crumpler becomes the first African-American woman to become an MD
1870 – University of Michigan is the first state school to openly admit women into medical program
1889 – Susan La Flesche Picotte becomes first Native American woman in US to receive a medical degree
1899 – In the US more than 7,000 women are practicing physicians
1903 – Marie Curie won the Nobel Prize in Physics with her husband Pierre Curie and physicist Henri Becquerel…in 1911 she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry
1914 – Alice Hamilton is the first woman to be appointed to the faculty of Harvard Medical School
1925 – Florence Sabin, MD is admitted as the first woman into the National Academy of Sciences
1943 – Margaret Craighill, becomes the first woman doctor to join the US Military
1945 – The first class of women is admitted to Harvard Medical School
1947 – Gerti T. Cori is the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in the category of medicine or physiology
1969 – Louise Gloeckner is elected AMA vice president, the highest ranking woman in the organization to date
1973 – AMA publishes the first Directory of Women Physicians in the United States
1977 – Rosalyn Yalow is the second female Nobel laureate in medicine
1989 – The AMA Women in Medicine staff office is opened
1999 – Catherine DeAnge lis, MD is appointed editor-in-chief of The Journal of the American Medical Association
There are many, many more women who have worked hard in the field of medicine so that they could help others and have the opportunity to practice their passion to heal and better people’s lives. The US National Library of Medicine has a wonderful interactive resource that allows you to explore and learn about women in medicine. Click on the image below to visit this informative site:
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