Dr. Helen M. Ranney

During my career in medicine, I practiced probably what would be mostly called academic medicine. I had a research program in addition to a clinical program. In the clinical program I saw patients who had ’hematologic,’ that is, blood, disorders. These would be patients who had diseases of the red blood cells—sickle cell anemia, or thalassemia, some patients who had leukemia or who had bleeding disorders. In my class in medical school there was a class of 120 and there were 5 women. And that was about standard, plus or minus a few— that was about standard for most of the Ivy League schools. I don’t think that one was aware of being treated differently than men by any of the faculty. There were clearly some of the students who rather resented the fact that there were women in the class, but you know, one didn’t really take that terribly seriously. They were the kind of students one didn’t take seriously. I think that probably I was slower to be recognized academically then I would have been, had I been a man... but I didn’t really notice it. I never really cared about whether I was an associate professor or not. The only place where I was sure that I probably was discriminated against was at times in the salary scales. At times it was fairly clear to me that men of the similar rank, and if anything, somewhat lesser accomplishment, were making more money. And I was aware that that happened from time to time. On the other hand, I had enough money, so it didn’t really matter. I was offered the position in San Diego because they wanted a chair of the department of medicine, and it, again, was a new school. My devotion has been to new things that were getting started. There was a lot to be done, and a lot of new faculty to be recruited, and a lot of building to be done. I think it’s important to mentor the young physicians who are interested in research, and who need some time to get the tools, the necessary tools, and to learn how the research is done. And also how grants are obtained, and how grants are administered, and how the American system requires some administrative kind of role model for a person who’s entering it for the first time.