February 03, 2020
Today we celebrate National Women Physicians Day, marking the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (Feb. 3, 1821) – the first woman in the United States to receive a medical degree – in 1849.
Medicine has made remarkable progress over the last 171 years. Look at our own medical school – celebrating its 50th year. Our first graduating class included only one woman among 23 students. Today we mirror the nation. The majority of our students are women. This year’s first-year class has 142 (59%) women among a class of 240.
On February 11 we will join the United Nations in celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This special McGovern event highlights members of our own faculty – Drs. Rebecca Berdeaux, Vasanthi Jayaraman, Lillian Kao, and Hope Northrup will each give talks about their work and careers. Keynote speaker Dr. Sharona Gordon, from the University of Washington, will present, “If I’m not safe, nobody is: Science, power, and activism in the age of #MeToo.” Please help us celebrate this day at 4 p.m. in the Memorial Hermann Conference Center.
Despite the strides women have made in science and medicine, there is still work to be done. This is being recognized at the highest levels. NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins named an advisory committee to address changing the culture to end sexual harassment in science. Just last week, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) announced a new initiative to achieve gender equity in academic medicine. See the statement and more information on this work here.