Wednesday 8 March 2017

Marla Ahlgrimm Celebrates Women’s History Month

Marla Ahlgrimm
March is Women’s History Month and what better time to celebrate the women from the past who paved the way for the future of women’s healthcare. Here, Marla Ahlgrimm, one of the nation’s foremost experts on women’s health and hormone therapy treatment, opens up about the fairer sex’s contributions to medicine.

Q: Were women of ancient societies allowed to practice medicine?

Marla Ahlgrimm: To some extent, yes. Merit Ptah is widely considered the earliest female to be named in the history of science. She was an Egyptian physician around 2700 BC. Greek author and physician Metrodora, who lived circa 200 – 400 CE, is regarded by the medical community and the first medical writer.

Q: When were women allowed to enter medical school in the United States?

Marla Ahlgrimm: The first all-girl medical education facility was founded in Boston in 1848. The New England Female Medical College was soon followed by the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. British physician Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell was accepted into the Geneva Medical College in 1847; she was the first female to receive a medical degree in the United States.

Q: Aside from doctor, what other historic roles have women played in the treatment of injury and disease?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women have almost always served in some capacity, usually as midwives and to attend the immediate needs of newborns and new moms. Throughout the Civil War, thousands of women volunteered as nurses, keeping soldiers from both sides alive and getting them back to battle. Clara Barton and Louisa May Alcott are two of the most famous nurses from the war. Barton later went on to establish the American Red Cross.

Q: Why is it important to encourage our daughters to follow their dreams of working in the healthcare field?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Women are every bit as capable as men and often display an empathy the male mind simply isn’t capable of. Though the gap is closing, there is still a significantly higher proportion men-to-women serving in high-ranking medical professions nationwide. In Wisconsin, for example, there are nearly 11,000 male physicians compared to just under 5,200 female.


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