Heritage Times

Exploring lesser known History


The most influential women in the history of medicine

A Greek physician, Metrodora became the first female in the world to write a medical exposition around 200 – 400 AD.

Rufaida Al–Aslamia, in the seventh century, became the first Muslim nurse.

An Italian scholarly female professor, Dorotea Bucca (1360-1436) of the University of Bologna became the first female to teach medicine at the university.

In Boston, the year 1848 witnessed the foundation of the New England Female Medical College. This institute was unlike any other establishment in the world.

Photo:: Students in the operating amphitheater of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1903.<br />Courtesy: Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives
Photo:: Students in the operating amphitheater of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1903.
Courtesy: Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives

The following year Elizabeth Blackwell, a British, became the first woman to graduate from Geneva Medical College now known as Hobart & William Smith College, USA.

Florence Nightingale, a nurse who is popularly referred to as “The Lady with a Lamp” became the founder of the first nursing school in 1860.

Around 1862, Mary Edward Walker worked as a surgeon in the Union Army during the American Civil War. She is the only woman to receive the “Medal of Honour” for her efforts to treat the wounded.

Sati al-Nisa, The female medical practitioner in Shah Jahan’s court

The world’s first female professor of surgery was Princess Vera Gedroits (1870-1932). She was a female military surgeon in Russia.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler in 1864 became the first American of African descent female physician.

The year 1886 saw Kadambini Ganguly of India as the first female physician.

From 1922 onwards, the first female Turkish, Safiye Ali started to practice as a Physician.

Furthermore, Agnes Savagee graduated from Edinburg University in 1929. She was the first West African Woman to qualify as a doctor.

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Dr. Zareen Fatima

Dr Zareen is an ambitious general dentist working and residing in UAE. She is able to handle multiple tasks on a daily basis. Alongside her busy work schedule, she is a vivid reader, researcher, writer editor and is currently pursuing Masters in Public Health. In her leisure she brings out the forgotten history in the field of medicine and associated disciplines.