In Celebration of Women’s Hisotry Month

Elizabeth Blackwell, MD (1821-1919)

Elizabeth Blackwell, MD

By Jeanne Rabalais, MD

As the first woman in America to receive a medical degree, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell is notably one of the most important champions of women in the medical profession. Blackwell was born in England in 1821 and moved with her family to America in 1832, settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. Blackwell decided to pursue medicine after a dying friend told her she wished she had a female physician.  Blackwell was accepted as a medical student by Geneva Medical College. During her studies, she gained clinical experience at the Blockley Almshouse which served impoverished patients. Blackwell received her medical degree in 1849 and furthered her training and career both in Europe and the US. She co-founded the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children to serve the poor. Blackwell then went on to aid in the creation of the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary that was intended to support and encourage women hoping to pursue careers in medicine.

Brought to you by the Resident/Fellow IDEA Committee