Women Doctors At Forefront Of Healthcare Innovation

Madelyn Kearns | mHealth Summit | August 15, 2014

When Elizabeth Blackwell officially earned her MD at the Geneva Medical College in New York, Charles Lee, MD, conferred her accomplishment by standing and bowing to the first female doctor.  That was January 23, 1849 and, although some will say not fast enough, times have changed. Now women comprise nearly a third of all physicians and, what’s more, 45.4 percent of all residents and fellows, according to the 2012 Physician Characteristics and Distribution report based on 2010 data.  

The total increased 447 percent over a 20-year span, from 1980 to 2010. Moving the timeline even further back to 1975, the report found that the women physician workforce grew sixfold — from 35,626 to 296,907 in 2010.  Indeed, Blackwell may not have known how wide the trail she’d blaze would one day be, but it’s a safe bet to presume that the next Physician Characteristics and Distribution survey will reveal even more female physicians.  Many women doctors work within six specialties — internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics/gynecology, psychiatry and anesthesiology — and the influence of women MDs has reached all areas of care...