Celebrating America's Women Physicians

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Setting Their Sights
Making Their Mark
Changing Medicine
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Transforming the Profession

Many women physicians strive to balance their personal lives with their professional careers, as well as the needs of individual patients and entire communities. They are promoting reforms to eradicate the professional barriers that many of them faced in their own careers and working to change the way that medicine is taught and practiced.

Drawing on their own interests and experiences, women physicians are instituting changes that have far-reaching benefits for the health and happiness of families, communities, and medical practitioners themselves.

Full face photograph of Dr. Perri Klass
Dr. Perri Klass

As a pediatrician, writer, wife, and mother—Perri Klass has demonstrated how medicine is integral to the health of families and communities, and how doctors themselves struggle to balance the conflicting needs of profession, self, and family. With her love of literature and her involvement with literacy, Klass is acutely aware of the importance of reading to personal and professional success. As medical director of Reach Out and Read, a national program which makes books and advice about reading to young children part of every well-child visit, she encourages other pediatricians to foster pre-reading skills in their young patients. READ MORE

Dr. Susan M. Briggs

Susan M. Briggs, a trauma surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, established and became the first director of the International Medical Surgical Response Team (IMSuRT), an emergency response team that, on short notice, organizes and sends teams of doctors, nurses, and other health professionals from throughout New England to emergencies around the globe. READ MORE

Left side full face photograph of Dr. Susan M. Briggs
Full face photograph of Dr. Edith Irby Jones
Dr. Edith Irby Jones
Video: Dr. Edith Irby Jones Transcript: Dr. Edith Irby Jones

In 1948, nine years before the "Little Rock Nine" integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, Edith Irby Jones became the first black student to attend racially mixed classes in the South, and the first black student to attend the University of Arkansas School of Medicine. Her enrollment in a previously segregated southern medical school made news headlines across the nation. READ MORE

Video: Dr. Leah J. Dickstein Transcript: Dr. Leah J. Dickstein
Dr. Leah J. Dickstein

Psychiatrist Leah J. Dickstein is a former president of the American Medical Women's Association and vice president of the American Psychiatric Association. Her innovative Health Awareness Workshop Program, at the University of Louisville, is based on her experience attending medical school while raising a family. The popular program, which covers everything from individual well-being to personal relationships, as well as race and gender issues, has made the University of Louisville one of the nation's most family-friendly medical colleges. READ MORE

Full face photograph of Dr. Leah J. Dickstein
Full face photograph of Dr. Barbara Barlow wearing glasses.
Dr. Barbara Barlow
Video: Dr. Barbara Barlow Transcript: Dr. Barbara Barlow

Barbara Barlow was the first woman to train in pediatric surgery at Babies Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center (now called Babies' and Children's Hospital of New York). By researching and documenting the causes of injuries to children in Harlem, and increasing public education about their prevention, she has helped to dramatically reduce accidents and injuries to inner-city children in New York and throughout the United States. READ MORE

Video: Dr. Marianne Schuelein Transcript: Dr. Marianne Schuelein
Dr. Marianne Schuelein

As a pediatric neurologist at Georgetown University Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Marianne Schuelein came to understand the problems of affordable child care from her own experience as a working mother. In 1973, as vice president of the District of Columbia chapter of the American Woman's Medical Association, she decided to present the issue directly to Albert Ullman (D-Oregon), chair of the Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1976, Congress passed a law allowing child care tax deductions, enabling more women to work outside the home. READ MORE

Full face photograph of Dr. Marianne Schuelein