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Early Women Leaders In Medicine

Updated on December 20, 2014


I enjoyed a brief stint in the medical field working as a medical assistance in administration. After realizing that the medical field was not my calling, I moved on. I will say that I have the upmost respect for women who have gone on to further their career in this challenging and at times, exhausting profession.

I am also grateful to the women who studied medicine under the strain of ridicule and discrimination, and managed to succeed, paving the way for women doctors.

In earlier times female doctors had a difficult time breaking into a medical field dominated by men.

In the sixteenth century women were allowed to practice medicine. This article provides a list of women who were able to make a mark their mark in medical history.

There Were Some Women Doctors Who Practiced Medicine From 1099 to 1179 At The Schola Medica Salernitanain in Salerno, Italy

Image by: La Scuola Medica Salernitana
Image by: La Scuola Medica Salernitana | Source

Trotula Platearius (1100 A.D.) Was The Most Famous Female Teachers Of Medicine At Europe's First Medical School

Trotula Platearius was knowledgeable in obstetrics and gynecology and her textbook call 'The Diseases of Women' was a popular textbook. Platearius went on to marry a physician and had to sons that followed in her footsteps, and moved on to be physicians as well.

The Women Of Medicine

There was a time when women were persecuted, labeled as witches if they tried to cure sickness.

In the mid-nine-teenth century, women who longed to be doctors had to fight for their rights to study medicine.

There were some women doctors who practice medicine from 1099 to 1179 at the The Schola Medica Salernitanain in Salerno, Italy. The Schola Medica Salernitana was the world's first medical school.

Florence Nightingale

Dr Elizabeth Garret Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garret Anderson made her mark in the world of medicine early on. Not only was a hospital named after her, she also opend the New Hospital for Women, and operated by women in 1872.

Clara Barton (1821-1912) Cared For The Wounded Men In The Civil War

Not only did Clara Barton care for the soldiers in the Civil War, she also realized the importance of supporting care to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of the soldiers. Barton dedicated her time to locating missing soldiers after the war. Barton organized The American Red Cross in 1881 and served as its first president.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910)

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman in the United States to qualify as a doctor, yet Blackwell was turned down in 1844 by medical schools in Philadelphia and New York. Blackwell's determination led her to enroll in a school located in Geneva, New York, where she was awarded a degree in 1849.

Dr. Blackwell, along with two other female doctors, which consisted of her sister Emily and Marie Zackrzewska, a German-born physician of Polish descent. opened a medical college for in New York in 1853. The ambitious female team when on to open a hospital for women in 1857.

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)

Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing. Born into a wealthy family that believed that women should marry well, and take care of the kids, Nightingale was influenced by women doctors such as Blackwell, in which the two were close friends.

Nightingale, went on to study nursing in Europe, using her knowledge in the Crimean War to care for those who were wounded and sick. Nightingale started a school for nurses in 1860 at St.Thomas Hospital in London.

Dr. Aletta Jacobs (1854-1929)

Dr. Aletta Jacobs was the first female physician out of Holland who established the world's first birth control clinic in Amsterdam in 1882

Marie Curie ( 1867-1934 )

Marie Curie original known as Mary A. Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland, was the world's first famous woman scientist. Curie discovered the element radium. Curie, won the Nobel Prize physics along with her husband, Pierre, and Henri Becquerel and went on to win the Novel Prize by herself in the field of chemistry. Curie's work led to the treatment of cancer by use of radium.

Elsie Strang (1878-1959)

Elsie Srtang was born in Yorktown, New York, graduating from Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary for Women And Children, which was established by Elizabeth Blackwell. Elizabeth Blackwell. Elsie was concerned about early treatment of caner, which led her to organize the Strang Clinic. Elsie's drive promoted early cancer awareness detection. Elsie's clinic offered a complete physical exam to determine if the women were at risk. Elsie's dedication led to other research evaluations, which examined cervical cancer, the colon and rectum, through use of a proctoscopy.

Listed Below: Florence Nightingale, Dr. Aletta Jacobs,Marie Curie, & Elsie Strang

Early Women Leaders In Medicine

Image of Florence Nightingale, Dr. Aletta Jacobs,Marie Curie, Elsie Strang , (NLM)
Image of Florence Nightingale, Dr. Aletta Jacobs,Marie Curie, Elsie Strang , (NLM) | Source

Women Moving On In Medicine

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Women Who Continued To Practice Medicine

Gerty Theresa Radnits Cori (1896-1957) was the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize for medicine and phsycology. Dr. Cori worked with her husband the tow studied the process of carbohydrate and metabolism in the body

Dorothy Hansine Andersen (1901-1963) was born in Asheville, North Carolina, due to female discrimination, Andersen was denied residency in surgery and an appointment in pathology at the University of Rochester. Andersen accepted as an assistant in pathology at Columbia and in 1930 was appointed to teach the staff. Andersen's willpower led her to to research into celiac disease of the pancreas, and help her to discover the cystic fibrosis. Andersen wrote on the subject of of chemotherapy for respiratory tract infections , in cystic fibrosis, which became a popular publication in the 1940's.

Grace Arabell Goldsmith (1904-1975) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, receiving medical training at Tulane University School of Medicine. Anderson's main interest surrounded nutrition training for medical students all over the world.

Dorothy Hodgkins was born in (1910 to 1994) in Egypt of British parents. Hodgkins analyzed the structure of vitamin B12 as a vital an important vitamin that helps fight against anemia, Anderson's discovery won her the Novel Prize for chemistry in 1964.

Dr. Alexa Canady (born November 7, 1950) is a medical doctor specializing in neurosurgery. She is widely noted as the first African-American woman to become a neurosurgeon. Deborah Hyde-Rowan had also broken into the field of neurosurgery.

Both women reported that they faced discrimination as women, but they continued on determined to carry out their studies in medicine.

Listed Below: Gerty Theresa Radnits Cori ,Dorothy Hansine Andersen,Grace Arabell Goldsmith, Dr. Alexa Canady.

Early Women Leaders In Medicine

(NLM) Dr. Candy, Grace Arabell , Wikipedia, Gerty Theresa Radnits Cori ,Dorothy Hansine Andersen
(NLM) Dr. Candy, Grace Arabell , Wikipedia, Gerty Theresa Radnits Cori ,Dorothy Hansine Andersen | Source

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