National Women Physician Day is celebrated on February 3 every year (since 2017) – to honor the birthday of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. Women who choose to become a physician today can give a nod to Elizabeth as she forged a path for them in the 1800’s. In fact, according to Womenshistory.org, Blackwell was even considered “a bad woman for defying her gender role.” If those same social mores applied now, women would be turning the world upside down!
Medicine wasn’t typically a career path for women; however, according to AAMC , in 2017 more women than men enrolled in U.S. medical schools. Open any provider directory these days, and you will have your choice of women physicians in any specialty. For more facts and links about women in medicine, check out National Women Physician Day.
Cindy Long, M.D., is an OB/GYN physician with The Women’s Health Group in the Denver area. (Full disclosure – I worked for The Women’s Health Group for four years.). Dr. Long says the improved quality of life for her patients is “the most rewarding aspect of my job, to know that by showing up I’ve made a difference in someone’s life.” I have seen Dr. Long and other women physicians juggle busy schedules and family life including children and aging parents, presiding over committees, managing group or solo practices, mentoring, nurturing friendships, and making a difference every day by ‘showing up’.
So cheers to Elizabeth Blackwell for her pioneer spirit and cheers to the women physicians who are making a difference every day! Thank you!