This #InternationalWomensDay we celebrate all women in healthcare and beyond! This short list recognises just some of the most influential women in healthcare. Their achievements and contributions have helped #BreakTheBias, save many lives and continue to inspire those in healthcare today.
Dr Elizabeth Blackwell
Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to achieve a medical degree in the United States, graduating from Geneva Medical College in 1847. Due to this, Elizabeth Blackwell played an extremely important role in both the United States and the United Kingdom by promoting education for women.
Scientist Marie Curie worked with her husband, Pierre and discovered two chemical elements in the periodic table – polonium and radium. This important work helped advance medicine through the development of the x-ray which changed how Doctors diagnosed patients. Curie and her daughter used this technology on the front line in WW2 and helped treat millions of soldiers. Marie Curie is the first and only woman to have been honoured twice for a Nobel Prize, first in 1903 and then again in 1911.
Dr Virginia Apgar
Virginia Apgar is known for her invention of the Apgar Score, this is a vital test that allows Doctors to see if new born babies require urgent medical attention. Today the Apgar Score is still very relevant and is responsible for reducing infant mortality rates. Virginia Apgar was also the first woman to become a full professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Dame Cicely Saunders
Dame Cicely Saunders’ legacy continues to affect how many of us will be cared for as we approach the end of life. Saunders was a doctor, nurse, medical social worker and research lead, all of which helped to develop her vision of palliative care. In 1967, Saunders founded St Christopher’s Hospice which was the first place to combine teaching, clinical research, pain, symptom control, and compassionate care. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1979 and awarded the Order of Merit in 1989.
Dr Sheila Reith
Sheila Reith is a mother and a doctor whose experience of diabetes and work on the first insulin pen helped to change the world. In the 1970’s she, along with Dr John Ireland and John Patton joined forces and created the initial prototype for the first insulin pen. Dr Reith’s innovation has changed the way we treat Diabetes, and continues to help millions of people every day.
Over the years, women have made huge contributions to healthcare. Today we celebrate all female healthcare professionals for their passion and constant hard work to help save lives every day. To learn more about International Women’s Day visit: International Women’s Day 2022 (internationalwomensday.com)