March is Women’s History month, and in celebration of that we’d like to share with you a few of the amazing women who have influenced healthcare both in the past and today.
Clara Barton – She played a major role in the Civil War as a nurse, helping wounded soldiers, but her most incredible contribution to healthcare is that she is the founder of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross was founded in 1881 and today aids in disaster relief around the country. In her honor March is also American Red Cross month.
Dr. Virginia Apgar – Dr. Apgar developed the Apgar Score Test in 1951 to provide standardized evaluation of the health of a new born infant. This test was vital prior to the use of fetal monitors and scored infants based on things like their skin tone, breathing, reflexes, pulse, and muscle tone.
Selma Kaderman Dritz – She is an Epidemiologist and was the Assistant Director of San Francisco’s Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. Her research laid the basis for understanding AIDS and the HIV Virus. She was also on the frontline of prevention and education efforts to help curb the spread of the virus.
Gertrude Belle Elion – She was a chemist and after losing her grandfather to cancer she vowed to find a cure. She created the medication Purinethol, the first chemotherapy drug used to fight leukemia. Over the course of her career she created 45 different cancer treatments and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988 for her work in the field.
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler – Dr. Crumpler was the first African American woman to earn a medical degree. She devoted her life to helping those in the African American Community. When the Civil War ended she relocated her practice to Richmond, Virginia to address the needs of the newly freed African American population in the south.
These of course are just a small handful of the incredible people and contributions that have been made by women to the field of medicine over the years. There are many others who have contributed remarkable innovations that have shaped every aspect of the healthcare field. We hope you take some time to do your own research and find even more heroes like these to inspire you as you begin your own career in healthcare.