Elizabeth Blackwell’s admission to Geneva Medical College in 1847 was a complete accident. When the faculty realized they accepted a woman into the school, they put her admission to a student body vote. The vote was unanimous because the students thought it was a joke – but it still granted her admission. After graduating, Blackwell founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, the first hospital operated by women and to offer clinical training for women.
Sarah Adamson Dolley was the first woman physician to complete a hospital internship in 1852. She was a co-founder of one of the first women’s medical societies in the US, the Practitioner’s Society of Rochester New York in 1886.
Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to graduate with her medical degree in 1864. She also published the Book of Medical Discourses, one of the first medical publications written by an African American.
Patricia Bath was the first African American female physician to receive a medical patent, for her invention the Laserphaco Probe in 1986. She was also the first woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the United States.
Bertha Van Hoosen founded The Medical Women’s Association, which is now the American Medical Women’s Association, in 1915. Van Hoosen actually grew up here in Oakland County, graduating from high school in Pontiac. She also attended the University of Michigan’s medical school.
Antonia Novello was the first woman and Hispanic to be Surgeon General of the United States in 1990. After two decades of public service at the National Institutes of Health, she helped to draft important legislation regarding organ transplantation.
Catherine DeAngelis was only the twelfth woman to become a full professor at Johns Hopkins, and instituted many policies to improve gender equality there. In fact 68% of all women who have been made a professor there received their promotions while DeAngelis was vice dean.
Do you know a local woman physician who deserves from extra recognition? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - we would love to feature them on our blog this month!