Today is National Women Physicians Day, in honor of the 201st birthday of Elizabeth Blackwell, which you may have seen mentioned on our social media before. She became the first woman in America to earn her medical degree. We would like to take a moment today to highlight some other women in medical history with extraordinary accomplishments!
- Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman in the United States to earn a Medical Degree in 1864. After the Civil War, she provided medical care to formerly enslaved people in Virginia. Although she was a medical professional it didn’t stop her from facing racism and sexism. She always had a desire to help others and ease their suffering, and this experience only increased her determination.
- Susan LaFlesche Picotte graduated at the top of her class and obtainer a Medical Degree in 1889 from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. Susan devoted her time to caring for Native Americans who were denied care by other physicians. In 1913, she achieved her lifelong dream of opening a hospital in Nebraska.
- Gerty Theresa Cori was the first woman from the United States to win a Nobel Prize in science. She worked as an equal with her husband, but they were rarely treated as equals in the scientific community. They researched how the body got energy from food and in 1929 they discovered how glucose was metabolized. This led the way for scientists to later develop a treatment for diabetes.
- Patricia Goldman-Rakic opened the doors to how we look at conditions of the brain. During her time, the pre-frontal cortex of the brain was noted as “too complex” for detailed research. In 1963, Patricia combined multiple fields of study, such as anatomy and biochemistry, that led to the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and much more.
Many other women have made huge impacts in the field of medical science, and we are forever grateful for their continued contributions!