Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: women in medicine

  • Italy’s Lady of the Cells: Rita Levi-Montalcini

    JMS PearceHull, England Rita Levi-Montalcini began her scientific career as an oppressed Jewess in fascist Italy. She ended it in triumph as the neurobiologist who discovered nerve growth factor, a political activist, and a researcher until her death at the age of 103.1 Born in Turin in 1909, Rita Levi-Montalcini was raised by an authoritarian…

  • Book review: Meeting the Challenge: Top Women in Science

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom Women have long faced difficulties in acceptance to scientific fields. Science today remains male-dominated, but there are more examples of brilliant female scientists who have broken through the so-called glass ceiling. In her preface to Meeting the Challenge, Magdolna Hargittai illustrates this point with the 2020 Chemistry Nobel Prize winners,…

  • Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor, DDS

    Natalie Horakova Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic   Lucy Hobbs Taylor. Photo via Kansas Historical Society Kansapedia. “I am a New Yorker by birth, but I love my adopted country—the West. To it belongs the credit of making it possible for women to be recognized in the dental profession on equal terms with men.” – Dr.…

  • Alexa Canady, MD: The first Black woman neurosurgeon

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”– Albert Einstein Alexa Canady (b. 1950) was the daughter of Clinton Canady, Jr., DDS, and Elizabeth Canady, a civil rights activist and the first African American to serve on the Michigan Board of Education. Alexa’s maternal grandmother taught at Lane College, a…

  • Books, bangles, and bravado

    Jill Kar New Delhi, India   Figure 1. Anandi Gopal Joshi (March 31, 1865 – February 26, 1887). Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Anandibai Joshee (Anandi) set sail from India at the age of eighteen. Bartering her bangles for books, she traded convention for an education, which was considered shameful in nineteenth-century India.1 In doing so,…

  • Dorothy Russell: The complete pathologist

    Nephrologists are familiar with Dorothy Russell because in 1930, long before renal biopsies, she published a monograph in which she classified cases of glomerulonephritis into mitis, intermedia, and gravis. But in the world at large she is better remembered for her research into cancer and neurologic diseases. Born in Sydney in 1895, Dorothy Stuart Russell…

  • Doctors’ husbands

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.”– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe The stereotypical image of the “medical couple” is changing: it is no longer the doctor-husband and his nonphysician-wife. This change is permanent and will accelerate, since 60% of American medical students1 and 54% of physicians2 are women. Eighty percent…

  • Healer of the pharaohs: History’s first woman doctor

    Matthew TurnerWashington, US Some 4500 years ago, as the great pyramids rose above the desert sands of Egypt, there lived a remarkable woman. Her name was Peseshet, and she is humanity’s first known woman physician. Peseshet was known by the title imy-r swnwt, which roughly translates to “Lady Overseer of the Lady Physicians.”1 She was…

  • Book review: A History of Women in Medicine and Medical Research

    Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Cover of A History of Women in Medicine and Medical Research: Exploring the Trailblazers of STEM by Dale DeBakcsy Research and writing on women’s contributions to science and medicine are needed and welcome. Books about science and medical advances have often concentrated primarily on men’s achievements and have a…

  • Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte: tradition, assimilation, and healing

    Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig 1. Susan La Flesche Picotte. 1889. Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives & Special Collections. Published with permission. “My office hours are any and all hours of the day and night.” — Susan LaFlesche Picotte1   It was August of 1889 and Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte…