Friday, October 19, 2007

Storrs of strength


One of the activities we'll be participating in today is an oral history interview with OHSU's Dr. Frances Judy Storrs, M.D. The noted dermatologist has been profiled in (among other places) Images of Oregon Women, a copy of which was, happily, donated to the OHSU Library just yesterday. Ellen Nichols' three-page bio sketch of Storrs focuses on family to illustrate the wellspring of Storrs' inner strength: her parents, both doctors, "encouraged her to believe that happiness and goodness were identified with hard work." Nichols notes:
She is much the same kind of mother her own mother was, Frances believes: intense and vigorous, wanting much for her family. But Frances tempers it with an understanding of their needs, as well.
Being a strong woman and mother has helped Storrs overcome many obstacles in the male-dominated world of medicine: when she was asked to leave a meeting of prominent dermatologists being held at the Portland Arlington Club, a males-only establishment, Storrs got mad. "I had a curtain going up (on my consciousness) .... For me, it was a dramatic experience with being excluded for an irrational sort of reason. It changed my life." Her experience helped change policies of the Medical School Alumni Association and the Oregon Medical Association; Storrs went on to join the ACLU, chair the Citizen's Task Force of the Portland Police Bureau, lead the Medical School's Affirmative Action Committee, and participate in the school's Minority Mentorship Program.

Stay tuned for more of the story, as Storrs sits down with us for a discussion of her career in medicine, her tenure here at OHSU, and her thoughts on the challenges facing women in medicine today.

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