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To celebrate International Women’s Day, we honor those who came before us and helped shape the health of the nation. Clockwise from top left:
Elizabeth Blackwell: not only was she the first woman to graduate from medical school in the US, she did so as top of her class. Inspired by a dying friend who had lamented that her care would have been different had her doctor been a woman, she took on the challenge despite severe discrimination and went on to found the New York Dispensary for Poor Women and Children and the Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children.
Rebecca Lee Crumpler: the first African American woman to obtain a medical degree. Inspired by the desire for real missionary work, she moved from the North to the highly prejudiced war-torn South to help people freed from slavery, who would have otherwise had no access to medical care. Her writings became the Book on Medical Discourses, one of the first medical publications by an African American.
Ann Preston: doctor and educator, she founded the Women’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which became the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. She fought for the rights of her students to attend local clinics like their male counterparts, and was met with ridicule and violence. In one instance, the women were accepted to attend the clinic, however they were met by an angry demonstration when they arrived. The male medical students shouted insults and threw paper, tinfoil and tobacco quids at the women – who stayed and attended the clinic – and on their way out they were pelted with rocks.
Sara Josephine Baker: physician and pioneer in preventative care and public health, she worked as a New York City medical inspector and went on to become the assistant commissioner of health for the city. She educated people on basic infant care, nutrition, and sanitation that saved many lives and health care resources in the long run. Her methods were so effective that her work became in high demand in other states and cities around the world.
These are the people who inspire me in the work I do every day. Who are the people who inspire you? . . . #BeWell #internationalwomensday #health #medicine #history