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Celebrating the Philanthropy of

Champion of Women in Medicine

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Garrett's Legacy:

The Women of The Johns Hopkins
University School of Medicine

Mary Garrett’s use of coercive philanthropy allowed the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to admit three women and fifteen men in October 1893. As of June 21, 2000, the university’s Office of the Registrar reported the following cumulative figures: 1547 women and 7344 men have graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Many Hopkins women graduates have gone on to successful careers and professional distinction. Here we name just a few of them.

Florence Rena Sabin (class of 1900), the first woman JHUSOM professor, went on to join the Rockefeller Institute as the first woman faculty member. She was also the first female member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1951 she received the Lasker Award for her achievements in health care reform legislation in Colorado. Her statue stands in the gallery at the U.S. Capitol.

Dorothy Reed Mendenhall, also class of 1900, worked in Dr. William Welch’s pathology lab after graduation. Her research involved the study of a red blood cell, known as the Reed-Sternberg cell, that characterized Hodgkin’s disease. After raising her family, she devoted her career to issues of maternal and child health. She was named a medical officer of the U.S. Children’s Bureau.

Helen Taussig, class of 1927, a pediatric cardiologist and the second Hopkins woman professor, worked with Dr. Alfred Blalock to correct and treat babies suffering from a serious heart defect. She was also the most vocal advocate for blocking the use of thalidomide in this country. She received the highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom, for her work.

Caroline Bedall Thomas, class of 1930, led the nation’s longest running prospective health study, The Johns Hopkins Precursor’s Study. She is also known for her work in the treatment of acute rheumatic fever.

Other notable women include:

Gladys Rowena Henry Dick (class of 1907), working with her husband, proved that streptococcus causes scarlet fever and devised a diagnostic test known as the Dick test.

Clelia Duel Mosher (class of 1900) was a pioneer in the study of female sexuality.

Esther Rosencrantz (class of 1904), faculty member at the University of California Medical School, was decorated for her work as a member of the WWI Red Cross Tuberculosis commission.

Louise Pearce (class of 1912) joined the Rockefeller Institute and made important contributions to the understanding of syphilis, rabbit genetics, and African sleeping sickness.

Esther Loring Richards (class of 1915) was psychiatrist-in-chief at the Baltimore City Hospitals.

Ruth E. Fairbank (class of 1916) was a psychiatrist and professor of hygiene at Mount Holyoke College.

Edith M. Lincoln (class of 1916), the head of children’s chest clinic at Bellevue Hospital, made important contributions in the treatment of tuberculosis.

Martha M. Eliot (class of 1918) was a pediatrician and the first woman president of the American Public Health Association and associate director of the World Health Organization.

Ella Oppenheimer (class of 1918) was director of the Maternity and Infancy Division, U.S. Public Health Service.

Ella Oppenheimer Miller (no relation, class of 1924) was a Hopkins pathologist whose main research interests were cystic fibrosis, viral infections, and congenital heart disease.

Madge Thurlow Macklin (class of 1919), a pioneer in the study of inherited disease, was one of the first to use the term medical genetics.

Harriet G. Guild (class of 1925) won the Elizabeth Blackwell Award for her study of pediatric nephrosis and kidney disease.

Sarah S. Tower (class of 1928) was a well-known psychiatrist and psychoanalyst at Hopkins who also taught anatomy at Hopkins early in her career.

Hattie Alexander (Class of 1930) concentrated on the study of genetics and developed a serum for the treatment of influenzal meningitis in infants

Ann G. Kuttner (class of 1930), an associate professor of Pediatrics at New York University, studied streptococci and rheumatic fever.

Miriam E. Brailey (class of 1930) was the Baltimore City Health Department’s director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis.

Georgeanna Seegar Jones (class of 1936) and her husband were pioneers in the treatment of infertility.

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Female Graduates 1897-2003

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Female Professors Appointed from 1917 to Present