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Dr. Mary Modelle Newman

Year of Birth / Death

b. 1952

Medical School

Creighton University School of Medicine



Career Path

Internal medicine
Dr. Mary Modelle Newman


I knew I was interested in medicine from the time I was 9 or 10 and loved reading Reader's Digest articles about diseases and medical subjects. I knew I needed a "people" job and I was fascinated by science. I also knew I really liked to hear people's stories whether fiction, biography, or medical interviews.


Mary Modelle Newman, M.D., has been an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine since 1984 and was chosen for the Chairman's Award for Teaching Excellence in 1997. As a member of the university's Task Force on the Status of Women she helped restructure schedules to help physicians balance a career in academic medicine with the responsibilitites of family life.

Mary Modelle was born in Nelsonville, Ohio, in 1952. From the time she was age 9 or 10, she says, she loved reading articles in Reader's Digest about diseases and medical subjects, and knew she needed a "people" job. She worked in doctors' offices during high school and college, and thought she should become a physician. But when she first enrolled in undergraduate courses at the University of Michigan, she switched from a science major to liberal arts, and in 1972 she earned a bachelor of arts degree in German, with high distinction and high honors. A year later, she earned a master's in library science.

After three years as a librarian, she decided to follow her childhood fascination with medicine and shifted careers. From 1973 to 1976 she took pre-medicine courses at the Medical University of South Carolina. In 1980, she earned her doctor of medicine, graduating magna cum laude, from Creighton University School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. She was board certified in internal medicine in 1983, and completed her residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1984. She also earned the unusual distinction of being the first woman at Hopkins to have a baby during her residency, which she believes no other woman in the Osler Medical Residency had ever done.

Dr. Newman now devotes herself to her internal medicine practice in Baltimore, where she takes the time to get to know her patients, including their social histories. She works with her patients to educate them about their own bodies, and after assessing individual risk patterns, prioritizes preventive needs.

She was appointed by the governor of Maryland to the Board of Physician Quality Assurance, which she served on from 1992 to 1999, and belonged to the Johns Hopkins University's Task Force on the Status of Women from 1989 to 1997. Among the task force's accomplishments was helping to find effective mentors for women staff, and adjusting the scheduling of grand rounds and meetings so that the physicians could fulfill both family and career responsibilities. She and her husband Robert Michael Newman, whom she married in 1974, have a son and two daughters.

Dr. Newman is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Medical Women's Association, and the American College of Physicians, and has been vice president for health policy and practice in the American College of Physicians/American Society of Internal Medicine since the year 2000.

Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

I think it was hard in the 1960s and 1970s to picture myself as a wife, mother, and doctor. The lack of a role model made it hard to choose a career. So I became a librarian for three years before starting medical school.

How do I make a difference?

I have had my medical practice for more than eighteen years. Every day I go to work and help these wonderful people whom I've known for years in many cases. It's especially gratifying now when I know them and the relevant medical science well. I know how to solve problems efficiently and quickly and get them to the right diagnosis and best consultants quickly.

Who was my mentor?

I wasn't lucky enough to have a single mentor. Among the people who helped me a lot were Bill Schlott, M.D., John Mann, M.D., Nicholas Fortini, M.D., Anne Leddy, M.D., Marvin Singewald, M.D., and many others.

How has my career evolved over time?

I've been in primary care internal medicine my entire practice. I spend some time in medical politics and organizational work, especially for the American College of Physicians. I never dreamed the practice of medicine would become so much more gratifying and enjoyable as I got older. Maybe that's why internists don't rush to retire!