First Women Doctor: Elizabeth Blackwell
Blackwell was the first women to graduate with a medical degree and become a
doctor. Blackwell’s devotion and determination made it possible for women today
to go to medical school. Her dream of being a doctor started when she was young
and led from her childhood. Later in her life, she was educated but had trouble
getting into college. When she went to the hospitals to apply but she was not
accepted, so she opened her own clinics. Because of her hard work, she was honored
medals for the help she had given people. Many women today, are now able to
become doctors because of Blackwell.
younger life was an awakening to her career. Blackwell grew up in a family where
they believed that education was important no matter what gender someone was. In
a book called, American Women of Medicine,
it states that she was educated well; therefore, Blackwell was taught history,
math, Latin, astronomy, and other subjects that boys usually were taught (Roberts).
This helped her in the future when she went to college. In an online article,
by Tahrin and Brooke, they described Blackwell’s family when she was younger. A
family friend, Mary Donaldson, was dying of cancer and
“suggested that Blackwell become a doctor” (Tahrin). This influenced Blackwell
a lot because she always wanted to have a job that would be challenging.
Blackwell was twenty three years old when she “convinced” herself she would
become a doctor (Tahrin). With out realizing it Blackwell would be someone who would
make a difference in the lives of women.
she was educated, Blackwell struggled in being accepted into college. In order
to learn the medical terminology she studied medical books. She tried to get
into medical school, but the schools turned her down. However, she wanted to
continue her studies so “she received
private instruction from Samuel H. Dickinson of Charleston (S.C.) Medical
College, along with a few other professors and doctors” (Tahrin).Eventually,
she tried again to get into college. Unfortunately, she was rejected once again
for being a female. She had enough of getting turned down, so she dressed up as
a man so that the colleges would let her in. The school let her stay and “study
anatomy, but they wouldn''t allow "him" to earn a degree” (Tahrin). As
a women Blackwell kept trying to get into college but got denied a total of
twenty nine times. Finally, she was accepted into Geneva Medical College in New York. She was the only women in her class. She
graduated top of her class. This made Blackwell gain some respect from people.
Because Blackwell was determined to go to college and graduate, women realized
that they were smart too, and could receive an education at a higher level. This
was the first step to getting women into medical school.
opened a clinic in New York City.
The clinic not only helped people who were sick but helped train women to
become doctors. Since Blackwell was forbidden to practice in American
hospitals; therefore, she could not become a working doctor. She was tired of
being rejected, so she opened the clinic called New York Infirmary for Women
and Children. The infirmary was run only by women. Two of those women were Dr.
Marie E. Zakrzewska and Blackwell’s sister, Dr. Emily Blackwell. The clinic was
open three days a week. Most of their patients were poor people, so they did
not charge a lot, which led to financial issues. They also had problems with the
public accusing them of killing patients whenever someone died. For example,
whenever someone died in the hospital, relatives of the deceased would accuse
the doctors of killing them. The upset people would also say that Blackwell and
her staff were not good enough to be doctors. However, they also helped people
a lot. In an online article by Dean Smith, he states that Blackwell and her
staff taught patients about sanitation and “gave them medical council” (Smith).
They taught them about hygiene and
keeping ones body clean and healthy.
This made women want to become doctor and
learn more. They turned to Blackwell for help and Blackwell helped them achieve
1868, Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell opened a medical school for women in New
York. The school was one of the first medical schools
for women. The college offered women a complete medical education. Blackwell’s
school courses were of higher standards than male schools. Blackwell taught “the
importance of proper sanitation and hygiene to prevent diseases” (Smith). The
school closed in 1899 because the Cornell College of Medical School started
allowing women to attend. Today, there is a Blackwell Medical Scholarship
Program that guarantees a spot in medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical
University College of Medicine at Syracuse.
The requirements to go to this school are that people have to meet and maintain
the standards of the program. This program was named for Elizabeth Blackwell. Because
of this program people with a rural backrounds can have an education. If
Blackwell had never established a medical school for women, women may not have
been where they are today.
all of Blackwell’s hard work, she received many awards. She was awarded the Elizabeth Blackwell Medal, for being the first women to receive a
medical degree from an American Medical
School. Blackwell also received an
award that is not given often given to anyone. The award she received was the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, given in 1849
by Hobart and William
They gave it to her for dedicating her life to helping humanity. She also
received an award for her smarts, called the Elizabeth Blackwell Academic
Achievement Award. She was the
senior with the highest Grade Point Average (Women). Blackwell created a standard of academic
excellence, setting an example to women who followed her.
numbers of women doctors have been growing ever since Blackwell established a
school for women. When Blackwell died, in the United
States, a total of seven thousand three
hundred and ninety nine women became licensed physicians and surgeons. Women have made huge medical discoveries and
advances. In 1974 22.4% of schools populations were women, today 45.6% are
women. In an online article, written by a M.D. named Eliza Lo Chin she explains
how much more women have become doctors. “By the end of the 19th century, nineteen
women''s medical colleges and nine women''s hospitals had been established” (Chin).
Today 22.8% of today’s physicians are women and 28% are full time. In the late
twentieth century women were not discriminated as much; they are not looked
down upon. Because of Blackwell more women have been able to reach their goal
and become doctors.
1896, Marie Mergler said: "No woman studying medicine today will ever know
how much it has cost the individuals personally concerned in bringing about
these changes; how eagerly they have watched new developments and mourned each
defeat and rejoiced with each success. For with them it meant much more than
success or failure for the individual, it meant the failure or success of a
grand cause" (Chin). Chin is explaining how much work it took Blackwell to
start a revolution. In the end Blackwell got what she wanted to happen; which
is, now women can recei