At Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD), there is a good chance that a beneficiary will be treated at some point by women physicians who have trained and aspired to be among the highest qualified providers Navy Medicine can offer.
However, it wasn’t always like that.
Feb. 3 is National Women Physician Day and at NMCSD it is also a day to reflect on how far medicine has come along. Such progress within the medical field is intrinsically tied to the broader progress that has transformed the fabric of our society.
“Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell is a lesser known pioneering figure in medical history,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ashley Voss, NMCSD staff psychiatrist. “Dr. Blackwell is our nation’s first woman to earn a medical degree in 1849. At that time most colleges reportedly reject her application for admission.”
However, Blackwell persevered and committed herself to medicine no matter what obstacles were thrown at her.
Blackwell also supported the Union warfighter during the Civil War. Capitalizing on the opportunity to demonstrate the value of women in providing health care, Blackwell founded the Women’s Central Association of Relief (WCAR) on April 25, 1861.
“I believe that it was inevitable that women would integrate with the military to support the warfighter,” expressed Voss. “More than 150 years later, women in today’s military are serving, defending, and still supporting the warfighter.”
Even after the Civil War, the battle for women to integrate in medicine continued for decades; however, as we look back at the battles and wars fought since, it is indisputable the value, competence, and devotion to duty that women physicians have brought to the fight.
“I couldn’t be any more proud than to serve in our nation’s military today,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jasmine Scott, NMCSD Orthopedic Surgery resident. “The inclusivity and respect afforded to women physicians is second to none. We as women physicians are fortunate to live and serve in this era that Dr. Blackwell may have so desired for us, but had no way of seeing it come to fruition in her lifespan.”
Dr. Blackwell left a lasting and impactful legacy on many thanks to her valiant pursuit of something she was deeply committed to. That legacy lives on with female physicians.
Astounding accomplishments don’t come easy. In Blackwell’s case up to 29 colleges rejected her application for admission as a result of being a woman. Yet, when she graduated she was the first in her class.
“Medical-related TV shows and movies present a very glamorous approach to medicine, and even when they try to shed a realistic light on us, the reality is that becoming a physician is filled with challenges, highs, and lows,” added Scott. “Dr. Blackwell reminds us that we get to pursue our dreams within the reasonable encapsulation of modern day challenges and for that we are indebted to her for charging through the barriers of exclusion at a time when it was socially acceptable to do so, and in fact, I would say, socially expected.”
“We would be remiss if we solely stopped at acknowledging how Navy Medicine provides a safe and supportive environment for women physicians. They do so for all, and for that, and for the opportunity to serve our patients, we will continue to show up and deliver the best possible health care,” said Lt. Laura Mourafetis, NMCSD Orthopedic Surgery resident.
NMCSD’s mission is to prepare service members to deploy in support of operational forces, deliver high quality healthcare services and shape the future of military medicine through education, training and research. NMCSD employs more than 6,000 active duty military personnel, civilians and contractors in Southern California to provide patients with world-class care anytime, anywhere.
|Date Posted:||02.03.2023 18:44|
|Location:||SAN DEIGO, CA, US|
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