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Women's History Month

Celebrate Women's History Month and the many accomplishments women have given this country and the world.

2022 Theme: Providing Healing and Promoting Hope

The 2022 Women’s History theme, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” is both a tribute to the ceaseless work of caregivers and frontline workers during this ongoing pandemic and also a recognition of the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.

Women Making Medical History

Sojouner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883) more known as being an activist was also an informally trained nurse who, in addition to fighting for abolition and equity, advocated for formal nurse training and education. Her 1844 "Ain't I a Woman" speech demanding equality for women and African Americans made her one of the most famous nurses in history.

Dorthea Dix

Dorthea Dix

Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) was a social reformer whose devotion to the welfare of the mentally ill led to widespread international reforms. After seeing horrific conditions in a Massachusetts prison, she spent the next 40 years lobbying U.S. and Canadian legislators to establish state hospitals for the mentally ill. Her efforts directly affected the building of 32 institutions in the United States.

Clara Barton

Clara Barton

Clara Barton (1821-1912)  served as a nurse in the Civil War and was nicknamed "the angel of the battlefield" for her work. Clara Barton is probably best known for her founding of the American Red Cross, for which she was also the first president. It was her idea to incorporate natural disaster relief into the core mission of the American Red Cross. 

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the woman in America to receive a medical degree. Rejected everywhere but she was ultimately admitted to Geneva College in rural New York, however, her acceptance letter was intended as a practical joke. In 1857, she opened the New York Infirmary for Women and Children with her sister Dr. Emily Blackwell and her colleague. In 1868, Blackwell opened a medical college in New York City. 

Mary Eliza Mahoney

Mary Eliza Mohoney

Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926) was the first black nurse in the United States to complete her professional degree. Mahoney became one of the first members of the American Nurses Association, or ANA, and helped to establish the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. 

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler* (1831-1895) was the first African American Woman to earn an M.D. degree. In 1860, she was admitted to the New England Female Medical College. When she graduated in 1864, Crumpler was the first African American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. In 1883 Crumpler's 'Book of Medical Discourses' is one of the very first medical publications by an African American.

*source list no known picture of her but this picture us attributed to her the most. 

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Sarah Emma Edmonds

Sarah Emma Edmonds (1841-1898) was born in Canada but served in the Union Army under the name "Franklin Flint Thompson" and worked first as a nurse and then served as a mail carrier. During this time she was supposedly asked to conduct spy missions (this can't be confirmed). In 1863, she contracted Malaria not wanting to be exposed  "Franklin" deserted the army. After her recovery Edmonds served for the rest of the war as a female nurse. 

Sophie Herzog

Sophie Herzog

Sophie Herzog (1846-1925) was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1871 she earned a midwifery certificate in Austria, then in 1886, and she and her husband immigrated to America living in New York City. In 1895 she moved to Brazoria, TX to be closer to her youngest child. Out of her home, she treated patients of all races and developed her own method of using gravity for extracting bullets from gunshot wounds. In 1905, Herzog was hired by the railroad commission board working as the first (and only) railroad surgeon made her famous in the United States. 

Susie King Taylor

Susie King Taylor

Susie King Taylor (1848-1912) was born into slavery and despite the harsh laws against education, Taylor gained an education through secret schools. During the Civil War, she found refuge behind Union lines and married Edward King, a black officer in the 33rd United States Colored Infantry Regiment, and served as both nurse and laundress for his unit, and in her off-hours taught former slaves to read and write.

Anna Maxwell

Anna Maxwell

Anna Maxwell  (1851-1929) was the founder of the Army Nurse Corps and known as the "American Florence Nightingale." During the Spanish-American War, she served as a nurse; she cared for wounded men, improved sanitary conditions in military hospitals, and trained other nurses. After the war, Maxwell and other lobbyists petitioned the U.S. Congress to create a nursing corps to care for soldiers at war. During WWI, she lobbied for nurses to become commissioned officers.

Susan La Flesche Picotte

Susan La Flesche Picotte

Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1915) was the first American Indian woman in the United States to receive a medical degree. Born on the Omaha Reservation in Nebraska. First, she became a teacher but then attended the Woman's Medical College graduating after two years in 1889. Then in 1894, she set up her own private practice serving both white and non-white patients. 

 

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) worked as a visiting nurse in New York City's tenements when it was illegal to prescribe or mail information about birth control. Sanger advocated for access to birth control information and legal contraception, even when she faced criminal prosecution. She founded the American Birth Control League, which became Planned Parenthood, in 1921. 

Claudia Potter

Claudia Potter

Claudia Potter (1881-1970) was the first female anesthesiologist in the United States, as well as the first physician in Texas to use gas anesthesia. Born in Denton, Texas she graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1904. In 1906, she was hired by the Temple Sanitarium (later Scott and White Memorial Hospital) as the head of the Department of Anesthesiology. 

Hilde Bruch

Hilde Bruch

Hilde Bruch (1904-1984) was a German-born American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst known mostly for her work on eating disorders and obesity. Broch earned her degree from the University of Freiburg in 1929 but emigrated first to New York due to the rising German anti-Semitism. Between 1941 and 1943, she studied psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and when she returned to New York she established a private practice of psychoanalysis and became a professor at Columbia University. In 1964 she accepted a position as professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. 

Clotilde Perez Garcia

Clotilde Pérez García

Clotilde Pérez García (1917-2003) was born in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, Mexico but her family fled to the United States that same year to escape the violence and instability of the Mexican Revolution. She was one of only seven women--and the only Mexican American woman--to graduate from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in 1954. She later opened a private practice in Corpus Christi: she was one of the first Mexican American women to practice medicine in the state.  

Goldie Brangaman

Goldie Brangaman

Goldie Brangaman (1917-2019) was the first and only African American president of the American Association of Anesthetists (AANA) and served on the surgery team at Harlem Hospital when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a victim of a near-fatal assassination attempt. Brangman remained at Harlem Hospital for another 45 years after caring for Dr. King It was there she served as director of the School of Anesthesia and received AANA’s Outstanding Educator Award. She is an author, activist, and role model to many. 

Hazel Jobhson-Brown

Hazel Johnson-Brown

Hazel W. Johnson-Brown (1927-2011) "She made military history in 1979 when she was promoted to brigadier general and, at the same time, to the command of the 7,000 nurses in the Army Nurse Corps. She was the first black woman to hold both posts."- Washington Post

Antonia Novello

Antonia Novello

Antonia Novello (1944- ) made history as the first female and first Hispanic U.S. Surgeon General in 1990. Born in Puerto Rico, she suffered from an abnormality of the large intestine as a child, but she was determined to become a doctor. After years in Public Health, President George H.W. Bush appointed her the  United States 14th Surgeon General, the nation's top health official. She has led several public health campaigns to improve health conditions and access to medical care, especially for women, children, and minority populations.

Alexa Canady

Alexa Canady

Alexa Canady (1950- )  was the first African American woman to become a neurosurgeon. Canady graduated from the University of Michigan in 1971 fell in love with medicine during school and became intrigued by neurosurgery. Canady was accepted as a surgical intern at Yale-New Haven hospital in 1975, breaking another barrier as the first woman first African American to be enrolled in the program. At the age of 36 she became the Chief of Neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Michigan and retired in 2001, 

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