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Inspirational Women in Medicine
Inspirational Women in Medicine

6 Mar 2020

Inspirational Women in Medicine

At Speed Medical, we’re proud to work with such a diverse group of people. From our in-house teams to our Expert Panel, every single member of our team is hard-working, knowledgeable and dedicated to delivering service excellence.

On Sunday, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. In line with this, we’re taking a closer look at the rise of women in medicine and the incredible women who pioneered the medical industry.


Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Elizabeth Anderson was Britain’s first female to qualify as a doctor. Most doctors and surgeons didn’t want a woman joining their ranks, nor did medical colleges want to train females in the profession, so her numerous applications to study medicine were turned down. In 1865, she passed her exams to become a licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries. This was less prestigious than an MD (Doctor of Medicine) but enabled her to be a practising Physician.

In 1866, Elizabeth opened the St Mary’s Dispensary for Women and Children in the Marylebone area of London. This was a hospital solely for women, staffed by only women, and drew crowds of patients. By 1870, she was awarded the first-ever MD degree for a woman from the University of Paris, paving the way for the future of medical education for British women.


Dr. Jane C. Wright

Descending from a renowned medical family, it’s no wonder Dr. Jane C. Wright became a pioneer in medicine. Her father, Dr. Louis T. Wright, became one of the first black graduates of Harvard Medical School, defying the racial barriers of the time. Not only that, her grandfather graduated from the Meharry Medical College, the first medical school in the south for African-Americans.

Despite the notable achievements of her father and grandfather, Dr. Jane Wright is a pioneer in her own right and is one of the most famous black women in medicine. It was Jane who invented a groundbreaking technique in chemotherapy, using human tissue culture instead of lab mice to test the effects of potential drugs on cancer cells.

As a result, chemotherapy became one of the most primary treatments for cancer. But her successes didn’t stop there, she is also recognised for pioneering the use of methotrexate to treat skin cancer and breast cancer.


Dr. Gertrude B. Elion

After majoring in Chemistry and obtaining her bachelor’s degree in 1937, Dr. Gertrude B. Elion faced rejection from a number of graduate programs for being a woman. Despite this, Dr. Elion took an unpaid laboratory assistant position and supported herself by also working as a substitute science teacher in New York.

Alongside Biochemist George Hitchings, she analyzed the difference between healthy and pathogenic cells and invented a new, revolutionary methodology. Together, their work engineered drugs that would target a particular pathogen and lead to groundbreaking results.

Through using this particular method of testing, Dr. Elion played a vital role in developing a drug that changed deadly childhood leukemia into a condition that many children survive.

These are only three of the most inspiring women in medicine. Here at Speed Medical, we’re proud to work with so many incredible men and women on our Expert Panel. If you’re interested in joining, contact us today.

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