Great Strides: Celebrating Women in Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center

Challenging the Classroom

Top row from left: Grace Sarah Goldberg, MD; Ella Maria Hediger, MD; Helen Druhan O’Brien, MD. Bottom row from left: Marion Robertson, MD; Edith C. Rosenthal, MD; Anna Topper, MD.

In the early 1900’s, women physicians were often viewed as “an obstacle and hazard to hospital staffs.” Even after completing their medical education, women faced few to no options when seeking internships and advanced training at hospitals. When they did manage to land coveted spots, female interns often slept in the nurses’ quarters and were discouraged from socializing with male students.*

Women were first admitted to the University and Bellevue Hospital Medical College of NYU in the 1919-1920 academic year. The first female graduates of the Class of 1923 were: Top row from left: Grace Sarah Goldberg, MD; Ella Maria Hediger, MD; Helen Druhan O’Brien, MD. Bottom row from left: Marion Robertson, MD; Edith C. Rosenthal, MD; Anna Topper, MD.
 
As female medical students graduated, they entered a professional field that denied them the opportunity to train as interns and did not grant them full rights as practicing physicians. Their struggles and achievements paved the way for present-day alumna at the NYU School of Medicine.

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