Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Women in medicine, and a timely donation

The topic of women in medicine has been much on my mind lately as we begin to gear up for the June 2008 arrival of the National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians at the Multnomah County Library's Collins Gallery. OHSU, in cooperation with MCL and a few other institutions, will be developing a series of satellite exhibits, programs and activities in support of the NLM display.

What great serendipity, then, when I picked up a package from library administration just 3o minutes before the start of today's kickoff planning meeting and found this missive with its enclosed contents:
Enclosed is my mother's laboratory kit from Cook County Hospital where she was a laboratory technician in the 1920s.

I am donating it to OHSU for your historical archives, or any other use. She was very excited about medical work, considered being a doctor, but in the 20s there were not many role models for women as doctors. She kept this despite several moves for over 50 years until her death in 1989.
A perfect segue into the meeting! We hope that with the publicity surrounding this exhibit next year, more members of the community will come forward with their stories of medical women--whether themselves or someone they knew--and the challenges they faced. Only three women physicians associated with Oregon are featured in the national exhibit (you can sort by state on this page). We here have collected the stories of a few notable women physicians in our Oral History Program, but we just don't have the resources to collect all of the stories by ourselves. If you know a medical woman whom you admire, let us know about her, capture her story on tape or on paper, contribute her information to the NLM guidebook, or--if she's really remarkable--get your congressman to nominate her as a local legend (nomination form here)--only one local legend has been nominated from Oregon, and we know there are lots more out there!

No comments: