Top 10 Women Physicians

Part 2 of the Women in Medicine Series

Quick, name a female medical doctor. When pressed, most people think of Elizabeth Blackwell or their own physician if she is a woman. But another current, working, medical doctor? That’s harder. It shouldn’t be; women are doing amazing work in the field of medicine and patient care. Research from 2014 from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that women only make up 19% of all surgeons, while the percentage of female physicians hovers around 30% - proving that women are definitely underrepresented in the medical field.

As recently talked about in a previous article, medical institutions have long played a crucial role in how medicine is practiced in the United States. While historically most doctors were men, medical schools in the 20th century began relaxing their admissions policies so that women soon made up anywhere from a third to half of students and an increasing percentage of the professors. The history of women in medicine has been marked by many challenges and achievements. Although the role of women in the "art of healing" can be traced back many centuries, only males are traditionally highlighted in history.

Women in medicine are often written about only in articles specifically on women in science, less often included in articles about influential medical advances. Inspired by the women featured in the  Top 10 Most Influential Women’s article, below is a list of 10 more of the coolest women (in no particular order) who are making huge strides in the medical community.

Cheryl L. Willman

Cheryl L Willman

Dr. Cheryl Willman is a distinguished Professor of Pathology and Internal Medicine at the University Of New Mexico School Of Medicine where she holds the Maurice and Marguerite Liberman Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research. The University's Comprehensive Cancer Center is recognized as one of the top centers for cancer treatment and research in the country. Dr. Willman is an internationally recognized leukemia researcher. Her work focuses on next generation gene sequencing to identify new genomic abnormalities for improved diagnosis, risk classification, and therapy.

In addition to her directorial role at the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, Dr. Willman has led key philanthropic efforts in Albuquerque, serving as the Chair of United Way of Central New Mexico. Through purpose and leadership, Dr. Willman has had a tremendous humanitarian influence on New Mexico and within the cancer community.

Elizabeth G. Nabel

Elizabeth G Nabel

Dr. Nabel is a cardiologist, distinguished biomedical researcher, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. As president of the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Health Care (BWHC), Nabel’s work on the molecular genetics of cardiovascular diseases has developed molecular and cellular techniques that allocate the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis and clarified the processes of cell division and growth of vascular smooth muscle cells.

Her studies on Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome have characterized the vascular smooth muscle cell defect leading to premature heart attack and stroke. Nabel has been a champion for global health. At the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, she established Centers of Excellence in developing countries to combat cardiovascular and lung diseases. At BWHC, she has helped create a national teaching hospital in Haiti which is helping to advance training for medical personnel in other under-resourced countries around the world.

Marla Dubinsky

Marla Dubinsky

 Dr. Marla Dubinsky is the nationally renowned chief of pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, specializing in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in children. Her primary research focuses on the influence of genetics and immune responses on the variability in clinical presentations, treatment responses and prognosis of early-onset IBD. In the past, doctors believed that IBD rarely affected children, but studies now suggest that it is more common than previously thought, and that numbers are on the rise.

Dr. Dubinsky is also the section editor of the Journal of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, the chair of the medical advisory committee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and co-chair of the patient education committee for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.  Dr. Dubinsky’s research is currently being funded by the National Institutes of Health to study the natural history of Crohn's disease in children.

Theri Griego Raby

Theri Griego Raby

Dr. Theri Raby is a visionary for integrative medical practices nationwide. Dr. Raby is board-certified in internal medicine and is also certified in integrative medicine through the American Board of Holistic Medicine (ABHM). She is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). In March 2009, Dr. Raby was invited by the founders of IFM to participate in a national forum of integrative medicine physicians focused on advocating for the increased role of functional medicine in traditional health care settings.

Dr. Raby continually elevates awareness and understanding of the efficacy of integrative medicine as a result of her training in allopathic medicine at the University of New Mexico, where her studies in cross-cultural medicine introduced her to the ways of medicine men, shamans, and curanderas (healers). Through this, she has cultivated a deep understanding of the effective blending of Western allopathic medicine with traditional holistic modalities. Her role as Medical Director enabled Dr. Raby to pioneer the integration of alternative and complementary practices in traditional medical settings.

Joanne Liu

Joanne Liu

Dr. Joanne Liu went to Mali with Canadian Crossroads International during junior college. While there, Dr. Liu decided to become a paediatrician and work overseas. Now, as president of Doctors without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Dr. Joanne Liu and her organization have been on the front lines of the Ebola epidemic. Dr. Liu and MSF sounded the alarm about the spread of Ebola and their call for increased global action.

In 2011, Young Women's Christian Association of Montreal honored Joanne with a Woman of Distinction award for her community involvement. In 2013, she accepted the Teasdale Corti Humanitarian Prize from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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