Celebrating Women's History Month : Pioneers in Medicine

Antonia Novello M.D 

First Female U.S. Surgeon General


Taken on 2/24/2017  The Huffington Post 

Dr. Novello was appointed to her groundbreaking position as the first female -- and first Hispanic -- surgeon general in 1990 by George Bush. She was inspired to become a doctor by a medical condition of her own that could only be corrected with surgery. However, her Puerto Rican family couldn't afford the procedure until she was 18, according to the National Library of Medicine. During her three years in office, she focused on health issues among women, minorities and children, as well as underage drinking, smoking and AIDS, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Servies. She is recognized for "changing the face of medicine" on the NLM's website. -- SK



Taken on 2/24/2017  The Huffington Post.  


Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to earn an M.D. in the United States.

She attended the New England Female Medical School (now Boston University School of Medicine) and graduated with a degree in 1864. After practicing in Boston, Crumpler moved to post-Civil War Richmond, Va., to care for freed slaves who would not have had access to medical care otherwise. Her book, Book of Medical Discourses, published in 1883, was one of the first medical publications written by an African American. While little information survives Crumpler, it is in her book we learn how her compassion for others and drive to enter medicine was inspired. She wrote, "It may be well to state here that, having been reared by a kind aunt in Pennsylvania, whose usefulness with the sick was continually sought, I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to relieve the sufferings of others.” -- Kate Bratskeir

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