Happy Women Physicians Day!
I owe an incalculable debt to all the amazing women who came before me and paved my path.
A selection of my personal heroes, in order of their birth year:
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in America.
Dr. Dorthy Reed Mendenhall, the woman who discovered Hodgkin’s Disease is not in fact a type of TB by discovering the eponymous Reed-Sternberg cell.
Dr. Helen B. Taussig, pioneer in the field of pediatric cardiology despite her considerable hearing loss.
Dr. Gisella Perl, a Jewish gynecologist who was interned at Auschwitz and saved the lives of hundreds of women through great determination and sacrifice.
Dr. Virginia Apgar, an anesthesiologist who developed the Apgar Score we all know and love, improving mother and infant mortality rate in America by pushing obstetricians to do better.
Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey, the Canadian pharmacologist and physician who blocked the approval of thalidomide by the FDA and thus prevented a potentially massive wave of birth defects in the US.
Dr. Joycelyn Elders, first African American female Surgeon General of the United States, who never shied away from controversial topics like drug legalization or human sexuality if she believed it would improve the overall health of the nation.