National Women’s History Month: Women in Medicine

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March is National Women’s History month. To celebrate, we’re talking about some important women in medicine throughout history. Prior to the mid-1800s, medicine was a man’s world, but women in medicine statistics beg to differ. Some noteworthy ladies’ research and hard work goes to show that a man’s world ain’t nothin’ without a woman.

Women in Medicine History

Discoveries made by female physicianswomen-in-medicine-woman

We’re living in the golden age of medical research. If you can believe it, way before health tracking apps, women’s health was put on the backburner. Women in medicine statistics show female conducted research was even less regarded than women’s health. It’s a good thing science is getting with the times because women have discovered some pretty groundbreaking stuff.

Here are just a few of the things we wouldn’t know without women in medicine:

  • Mary-Claire King did the groundwork which led researchers to discover the cancer-causing gene BRCA1
  • Gail Martin figured out how to keep stem cells alive and kicking in Petri dishes, then later she discovered how to separate embryonic cells for in-vitro cultivation
  • Rosalind Franklin took the famous Photo 51 which was a key step in developing the shape of DNA

Well-known women in medicine


We’ll start from the very beginning. Although she did not have an official medical degree from a prestigious university. Metrodora is considered the first female doctor in the world. She penned On the Diseases and Cures of Women sometime between 200-400 CE.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Blackwell wasn’t the first female doctor in the world, but she was the first female physician in the United States. In 1849 she graduated from Geneva Medical College in New York. Later, she co-founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Crumpler was the first African-American doctor. In 1864 she earned her medical degree from Boston University. She forged a career caring for freed slaves without access to health care. Later she wrote Book of Medical Discourses.

Gertrude Belle Elion

Elion invented the first big drug used to fight leukemia after her grandfather died of cancer. During her studies, she created 45 treatments to help the immune system ward off cancer. In recognition of her hard work and groundbreaking research, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988.

Looking for a Las Vegas Cancer Center?

Contact Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care if you’ve recently received an abnormal pap smear or you have a history of gynecological cancer in your family. Women in medicine at Nevada Surgery & Cancer Care are making history everyday. Dr. Lynn D. Kowalski specializes in gynecological cancers while Dr. Stephanie A. Wishnev is one of the only surgeons in the state performing anorectal ultrasounds.

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