Every year, March is recognized as Women’s History month with International Women’s Day occurring on March 8th.
Women have played such a integral role in the field of medicine. This month, we are honoring the women that dedicate their lives to helping patients, leading medical advancements, and helping their communities
Women in Medicine
Women make up 37.1% of active physicians across all specialties, according to the American Medical Association. This is up from 28.3% in 2007.
According to the American College of Graduate Medical Education, women make up 47.3% of residents and fellows, which has increased from 44.6% in 2007.
For the first time ever, the Association of American Medical Colleges reported that women constitute the majority of medical students at 50.5%.
Pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology are the leading subspecialties for women physicians, at 65% and 60.5% respectively. Historically, these specialties have been largely comprised of women so there are other specialties where growth and advancement in gender and racial diversity are still needed.
The first Native American woman in the US to earn a medical degree where she was valedictorian (Women’s Medical College in Pennsylvania, 1889).
Opened a hospital in the reservation town of Walthill, Nebraska (1913). Today, it still stands as a museum dedicated to showcasing her work in medicine.
Made public health contributions to reduce mortality rates by banning communal drinking cups, pushed for window screens for ventilations and protection from disease-carrying insects, and raised awareness about good hygiene and food sanitation.
The first female U.S Army Surgeon during the Civil War (1863).
Only woman to have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor by Andrew Jackson. At the time, she did not qualify for the award and decades later, President Jimmy Carter legally restored the award in her name.
As a women’s rights activist, she advocated for “dress reform” and women’s suffrage.
The first woman to be elected president of the New York Cancer Society (1971).
After becoming head of the cancer chemotherapy department and associate dean at the New York Medical College, Dr. Wright was the highest ranked African American woman at a nationally recognized medical institution (1967).
Her father, Dr. Louis Tompkins Wright, was one of the first African American graduates of Harvard Medical School.