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Dr. Doris Gorka Bartuska

Year of Birth / Death

b. 1929

Medical School

Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania



Career Path

Research: Endocrinology
Administration: Medical association presidents
Education: Teaching
Dr. Doris Gorka Bartuska


In grade school and high school, I considered a career in music... when I started biology class in high school I had a re-awakening with the excitement of science. It was in college that I realized that a career in science or medicine was a goal which I had never imagined (growing up in a small town in the coal regions of Pennsylvania with no role model). I was always optimistic and interacted easily with people. I joined the pre-med club, visited hospitals and medical schools and my career path became obvious.


Dr. Doris Bartuska has built her own career on her firm commitment to ensure that women would have the chance to pursue their professional goals with equity and opportunity. As a medical school professor, as well as president of the American Women's Medical Association, she has promoted the recruitment of women to leadership roles in academic medicine.

Following her 1949 graduation from Bucknell University with a bachelor's degree in biology, Doris Bartuska earned her M.D. degree in 1954 from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. After completing her internship and medical residency, Dr. Bartuska received two fellowships from the National Institutes of Health, one in endocrinology at Jefferson Medical College from 1957 to 1958, the other in molecular medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania from 1966 to 1968.

While pursuing research and writing on the physiology of aging and thyroid disease in the elderly, Dr. Bartuska held successive appointments at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, as associate professor of medicine and pathology, director of the division of endocrinology and metabolism, associate dean of curriculum, and professor of medicine. Despite the hectic schedule, she has found this work very rewarding. As she noted in 1988, "All faculty members have substantial administrative and committee responsibilities, as well as such extra duties as editing medical journals, serving on peer review panels, continuing their education, and obtaining research funding. Teaching is a stimulating and exciting aspect of academic medicine. One must love it." Dr. Bartuska's own love of teaching was recognized in 1974 when she received the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teaching award.

In addition to her 1989 term as president of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, Dr. Bartuska served as the Pennsylvania Medical Society delegate to the American Medical Association from 1979 to 2000. In 1987 Dr. Bartuska served as president of the American Medical Women's Association, using her position to raise the profile of the growing numbers of excellent women physicians and to promote the recruitment of more women into leadership roles in academic medicine.

Dr. Bartuska's devotion and advocacy for women in the medical and scientific professions bore fruit in her own family. Her youngest daughter is now a family practitioner in Maryland. Two other children have pursued scientific careers — one as a geologist and the other, having earned a Ph.D., is a recently president of the Ecological Society of America. Though officially retired, Dr. Bartuska still remains active in state medical societies and medical writing, and mentors younger doctors by working with them in editing manuscripts and reviews.