A History of Women in American Anesthesiology


Women came slowly to medicine and anesthesia. The first modern woman physician, Elizabeth Blackwell, received her degree in 1849. The University of Zurich Medical School enrolled women in 1867. To increase their opportunities, American women founded 17 medical schools and 7 hospitals in the 19th century, but the move to scientific medicine prompted by the Flexner Report caused closure of all but one after 1910. Men avoided anesthesia because it offered minimal pay and status in the 19th century, but that presented an opening for women such as Herb in Chicago and Botsford in San Francisco at the turn of the century. In 1916, women constituted 19% of the American Association of Anesthetists (AAA) membership, but only 3.6% of physicians were women.


Women in anesthesia Anesthesia and history of women Blackwell, Elizabeth Apgar, Virginia Apgar score origin 

Copyright information

© Edmond I Eger, MD 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA

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