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.
Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord bridges two worlds of medicine—traditional Navajo healing and conventional Western medicine—to treat the whole patient. She provides culturally competent care to restore balance in her patients' lives and to speed their recovery. READ MORE
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-born American psychiatrist, pioneered the concept of providing psychological counseling to the dying. In her first book, On Death and Dying (published in 1969), she described five stages she believed were experienced by those nearing death—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. She also suggested that death be considered a normal stage of life, and offered strategies for treating patients and their families as they negotiate these stages. The topic of death had been avoided by many physicians and the book quickly became a standard text for professionals who work with terminally ill patients. Hospice care has subsequently been established as an alternative to hospital care for the terminally ill, and there has been more emphasis on counseling for families of dying patients. READ MORE
Margaret Hamburg, one of the youngest people ever elected to the Institute of Medicine (IoM, an affiliate of the National Academy of Sciences), is a highly regarded expert in community health and bio-defense, including preparedness for nuclear, biological, and chemical threats. As health commissioner for New York City from 1991 to 1997, she developed innovative programs for controlling the spread of tuberculosis and AIDS. READ MORE
From 1954 to 1962, Leona Baumgartner, M.D., served as the first woman commissioner of New York City's Department of Health. She used her position to bring no-nonsense health and hygiene advice to millions of Americans via regular television and radio broadcasts, and by sending health care professionals to visit schools and church groups. Throughout her career she broadened the scope of public health by teaching preventive medicine in easy-to-understand brochures, and helped to improve the health of New York's poorest and most vulnerable. READ MORE
"Pursuing difficult questions — in science and in policy — takes one to interesting places," says Christine Cassel, M.D., a renowned expert in geriatric medicine and medical ethics. She works to improve quality of life for elderly patients, challenging out-of-date ideas about what can be expected in the aging process. READ MORE
Dr. JoAnn Manson has been a leading researcher in the two largest women's health research projects ever launched in the United States—the first large scale study of women begun in 1976 as the Harvard Nurses' Health Study, and the National Institute of Health's Women's Health Initiative, which involved 164,000 healthy women. Until the early 1990s, research on human health was usually done from all-male subject groups, and the results generated were thought to apply to both sexes. Federal regulation now mandates the inclusion of women in all research studies, as men and women may react differently to certain diseases and drug remedies, a fact Dr. Manson's research efforts have helped to establish. READ MORE
JudyAnn Bigby, M.D., is director of the Harvard Medical School Center of Excellence in Women's Health. She is devoted to the health care needs of underserved populations, focusing especially on women's health. She is also nationally recognized for her pioneering work educating physicians on the provision of care to people with histories of substance abuse. READ MORE