Celebrating America's Women Physicians

Changing the face of Medicine
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Introduction
Setting Their Sights
Making Their Mark
Changing Medicine

Changing Medicine, Changing Life


Confronting the multiplying challenges of health care, women physicians have joined the highest ranks of medical administration and research. As leaders, they make choices that benefit communities across America and around the world. As healers, they identify and respond to many of the most urgent crises in modern medicine, from the needs of underserved communities, to AIDS and natural and man-made disasters.

Their influence reaches across the profession out into our lives, redefining women's roles and society's responsibilities. By changing the face of medicine, women physicians are changing our world.

Helen Taussig with children at a South African clinic, 1970. Courtesy The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Caring for People

Calling upon the art as well as the science of medicine, women physicians treat the whole patient and the whole spectrum of health care needs. The perspectives they bring to care for the living and comfort for the dying encompass all aspects of the medical and emotional well-being of the healthy, the ill, and the at-risk.

This multifaceted approach is reshaping the way that both practitioners and patients strive to improve the quality of life and deal with disease and injury, while widening the scope of medical care for individuals and communities.

Transforming the Profession Transforming the Profession

Many women physicians strive to balance their personal and professional lives, as well as the needs of individual patients and entire communities. They are promoting reforms to eradicate the professional barriers that many of them faced in their own careers and working to change the way that medicine is taught and practiced.

Drawing on their own interests and experiences, women physicians are instituting changes that have far-reaching benefits for the health and happiness of families, communities, and medical practitioners themselves.

Surgeon General Antonia Novello is sworn in, as her husband, Dr. Joseph Novello, holds the Bible, March 9, 1990. Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. Taking the Lead

In recent decades, women physicians have risen to the very top ranks of the institutions that lead medical research and define the highest standards of practice. Deciding which issues to focus upon, they direct research and funding and are instrumental in implementing the policies, developing the drugs and treatments, and drafting the legislation to meet emerging medical challenges.

From high-profile, influential positions, women physicians provide examples and encouragement, as well as career opportunities, for other women who hope to practice medicine.