Hippocrates and Elizabeth Blackwell History

Hippocrates lived approximately 2400 years ago.

There were no women physicians in the United States until only 170 years ago.

You likely know that Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive her MD in the United States.  This was in the year 1849.

Elizabeth Blackwell was inspired to pursue medicine after a friend of hers said her ordeal would have been better had she had a woman physician. 

She applied to medical school, but was denied.

Nevertheless, she persisted.

She applied again, and was again rejected by ALL the medical schools she applied to.

On her third attempt, she was admitted.  The all male student body was allowed to vote whether she could be granted admission or not.  It it believed it would be somewhat of a practical joke.  However, Elizabeth Blackwell MD graduated at the very top of her class.

She went on to open a medical school for women and became a champion of women in medicine.  

When reflecting on her journey, she stated, “It is not easy to be a pioneer, but ohhhhhh it is fascinating.  I would trade not one moment, not even the worst moment for all the riches in the world.”

We are all a part of this history and legacy.

We stand on the shoulders of giants.

We are Elizabeth Blackwell’s wildest dreams.

Her birthday, February 3, is now a national holiday where we celebrate National Women Physician’s Day.

We may not realize it, but we actually are the shoulders upon which the next generation will stand.

This makes me even more mindful of where we have been, how we got to where we are today, and where we’d like to be.

Those who come after us will be significantly impacted by the choices our generation makes in medicine.

If we are not ready, willing, or able to make changes for ourselves, we often will make changes for others. 

We have the opportunity to leave medicine a little better than we found it.  For women physicians and for all physicians.