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9 Women Physicians Who Made Their Mark

Celebrate this month by celebrating women physicians who made their mark!

This women’s month, it is essential to celebrate the female physicians who left an indelible mark on medicine and society. Women have played a crucial role in the advancement of medical science since Ancient Greek times. Still, there has been systemic exclusion and oppression of female physicians recently. Their courage and determination allowed them to overcome enormous hurdles and become pioneers in their field despite facing innumerable difficulties. Thus, we owe these heroic figures an immense gratitude for paving the way for modern female doctors worldwide. 

Let’s start by getting to know these women physicians who made their mark! 

M. Jocelyn Elders

1. M. Jocelyn Elders

Jocelyn Elders is one of the incredible women physicians who made their mark in medicine. Her impressive career started as a medical school professor. This followed in her being appointed the first African-American Surgeon General of the United States. Throughout her career, she advocated for public health policies that targeted vital issues. Those issues include teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS prevention, and drug abuse prevention. 

Additionally, she promoted sex education in schools and encouraged more research into medical marijuana. Her advocacy for these forward-thinking policies has impacted the health of individuals in communities all over America. M. Jocelyn Elders’s unparalleled contributions put her on the top women physicians who made their mark in medicine. Her work continues to inspire future generations of female doctors to this day! 

2. Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a remarkable woman physician who changed how her peers think of medicine during her time. She made tremendous strides, becoming the first woman to receive a doctorate. Thereafter, she became one of the few female instructors at Sorbonne University in Paris. 

In 1903, she won the Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with her husband Pierre for their work on radioactivity. Then, she made history by being the first to win two Nobel Prizes. Her research helped advance medical treatments, using radiation to safely fight cancerous tumors. This led to measurable improvements in life expectancies worldwide. Marie Curie set an impressive example as a woman scientist and a valuable contributor to medical research across many disciplines.

3. Susan La Flesche Picotte

Susan La Flesche Picotte was a powerhouse of a woman in medicine and an inspiration to many. Born in 1815, she was the first Native American woman to become a physician. She obtained her medical degree in 1889, right after women began to be accepted into medical school. Her remarkable story is inspiring as she had to overcome numerous systemic obstacles due to institutionalized racism and sexism. 

After completing her medical degree, she returned home to the Omaha reservation. She then committed her life’s work to improve health care among the Omaha people. Throughout her career, she advocated for proper housing, education, and medical care for Native Americans. Susan La Flesche Picotte is an emblem of hope and strength. Accordingly. she opened doors for future generations of female physicians after her time.

4. Francoise Barré-Sinoussi

Francoise Barré-Sinoussi was a French physician and virologist known for her groundbreaking work on retroviruses. In 1983, she co-discovered the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) alongside her research partner, Luc Montagnier. Her discovery made a remarkable contribution to AIDS therapy. During her long career in medicine, she raised awareness of the disease by educating both doctors and patients. 

Further, she served at the Pasteur Institute as director of its regulation of retroviral infections unit until 2009. Barré-Sinoussi is highly regarded for her extraordinary accomplishments. For example, she has authored more than 300 scientific works and is a professor emeritus at the Université Paris Descartes. She was also awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for her contributions to HIV/AIDS research. Overall, her outstanding pioneering work serves as a reminder that women can make their mark in any field of medicine.

5. Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler was a trailblazer in the field of medicine. Her determination and dedication made her the first black woman admitted to New England Female Medical College. This is where she graduated with an MD in 1864. After this accomplishment, Rebecca became the first black female doctor in America. She then devoted her career to providing healthcare to underserved women and children. 

Additionally, she published an influential book, “The Book of Medical Discourses. “ Here, she highlighted her research findings about herbal remedies for medical ailments. With her hard work, Rebecca Lee Crumpler etched a path for other black women who wanted to pursue a medical career. Today, she is remembered throughout history as one of the pioneering women physicians who made their mark in medicine. 

6. Gerty Theresa Cori

Gerty Theresa Cori was one of the most famous female physicians in the history of medicine. She was a biochemist who studied metabolism and carbohydrate function in organisms, along with her two other research partners. Cori provided essential evidence that the body breaks down sugar into lactic acid through an intermediate compound known as glycogen. 

For her work, she and the other two researchers won awards for this work, including the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1947. In addition to her research achievements, Gerty Theresa Cori was an inspiration for many female scientists. Additionally, she is known for her tenacity, perseverance, and courage in dealing with gender discrimination in a field dominated by men. Her legacy continues today through breakthroughs in treatments related to diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

7. Virginia Apgar

Virginia Apgar is one of the many pioneering women physicians who left an indelible mark on medicine. She was an obstetrician and medical scientist whose groundbreaking development of a scoring system to measure newborns’ health after birth. This one is still in use today. Despite many obstacles, Virginia persisted until she earned distinguished degrees from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. 

Her scores are used worldwide and form the foundations for newborn health assessments. As a testament to her success, she has been honored with numerous awards. This includes the “Lasker Award,” one of medicine’s highest honors. In addition to her broad accomplishments in medicine, Virginia was a dedicated philanthropist who impacted numerous charitable organizations worldwide. All in all, this makes her one of the women physicians who made their mark in the field of medicine. 

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8. Antonia Novello

Antonia Novello is an inspiring figure: a pediatrician and the first female and Hispanic Surgeon General in the United States. She made history when George H.W. Bush appointed her in 1990. This made her the highest-ranking female doctor to serve in the US government. Novello strongly advocated public health initiatives during her tenure, such as immunizations for children and AIDS prevention and research. 

She also helped oversee key public health changes within the US military. This led to more access to treatment, testing, and counseling services for those affected by HIV/AIDS or other STDs. Ultimately, Antonia Novello left behind an incredible legacy. Up to this day, she remains as one of the women physicians who made their mark. 

9. Patricia Goldman-Rakic

Patricia Goldman-Rakic was a pioneering force in the field of medicine. As a former professor of neuroscience at Yale University, she devoted her life to research. Her study focused on understanding how the brain works and functions. 

One of Goldman-Rakic‘s major contributions was about the human brain. She discovered that the human brain’s prefrontal cortex is accountable for higher-order cognitive functions like impulse control and short-term memory. This revolutionary discovery allowed physicians to drastically improve treatments for patients with psychiatric disorders and neurological illnesses. Today, Goldman-Rakic’s work inspires medical researchers. This exemplifies how she can make a lasting impact in her respective field.

We’d like to support women physicians like you!

As a company built by strong women, we intend to support physicians like you! We want you to succeed in your field. That’s why Core Virtual Solutions provides top-tier and experienced Virtual Medical Assistants. Schedule a free consultation with us to discuss more!

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