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Pioneers in Women’s Health Advancement

Updated: Jun 9, 2023



March is Women’s History Month. The stories of courageous, self-sacrificing pioneers that paved the way for others to follow are countless and endlessly inspiring. In this blog, we wanted to write about something close to our hearts... Women who pioneered into the medical field when all the odds were against them. Here at Mg12 we are passionate about helping you on your wellness journey. These women were passionate about helping women take healthcare into their own hands.


Elizabeth Blackwell, MD (1821-1910) became the first woman to become an MD after a friend had become very ill and had insisted that she would have gotten better care had she had a woman as a doctor. This medical pioneer was once told to impersonate a man so she could get into medical school after being turned down by 10 schools, but she refused. She eventually went to school in New York at Geneva Medical College, initially allowed entry as it was thought to be a joke. After graduating she found it very hard to find work but persevered and went on to start clinics for the poor in New York.


Rebecca Lee Crumpler, MD (1831-1895) earned her MD in Boston in 1864, becoming the first African American woman doctor in the U.S. Inspired by an aunt who took care of sick neighbors, she made it her life’s work to “relieve the suffering of others.” While suffering racism and sexism, she pressed on, caring for her patients, writing medical publications, and inspiring generations to come.


Susan LaFlesche Picotte, MD (1865-1915) was the daughter of an Omaha chief. As a child she witnessed a Native American woman die because a white doctor refused to treat her. She graduated in 1889 at the top of her class, becoming the first native American woman to earn her MD. She went on to work tirelessly, often walking miles and late into the night to treat her patients. She fought to bring political reforms and lived to see her dream realized of opening a hospital in a remote reservation town in Nebraska.


These three women paved the way for all those who followed. With grit and determination, they did not give up when faced with what appeared to be insurmountable odds. Their contributions are far beyond just a degree. They proved to the world that they could be so much more than what society of their day deemed them to be. We salute these resolute pioneers who would not give up regardless of their circumstance. We are forever thankful for their paramount trailblazing!


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