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The Advance Guard Of Female Physicians: 'Women In White Coats'

Elizabeth Blackwell in the middle of the 19th Century.
Schlesinger Library, RIAS, Harvard University
Elizabeth Blackwell in the middle of the 19th Century.

Let's play word association: we say "doctor," and you say ________? What did you come up with? Oz, Welby, maybe Pepper?

Here are three more choices for the next game: Elizabeth Blackwell, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, and Sophia Jex-Blake. They became physicians at a time in history when women were largely barred from the medical profession.

But they persisted, creating an entirely new concept: medical care for women, by women. Their story is told in Women in White Coats: How the First Women Doctors Changed the World of Medicine.

Medical journalist Olivia Campbell wrote the book and visits the JX with an overview.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.