Elizabeth D. A. Cohen

Called a midwife and a “doctoress,” as she fought for the respect of her colleagues, Elizabeth D. A. Cohen became the first woman doctor recognized by the state of Louisiana and battled to save patients from two epidemics of yellow fever. Cohen’s desire to become a doctor came from losing her young son to measles and feeling that more could have been done to save him. When her husband began his studies as a surgeon in New Orleans in 1853, Cohen joined the first women’s medical school, Philadelphia College of Medicine, graduating fifth in a class of thirty-six. While the city directory did not list her profession as doctor until 1867, Cohen ran a thriving private practice and worked alongside male doctors during epidemics and other emergencies. She focused her practice on women and children, often presiding over births by women whom she had delivered as babies. Cohen outlived her husband and children, retiring to the Touro Infirmary in 1888, where she lived until her death at the age of 101.

Topics: Midwifery, Medicine

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Doctor Elizabeth D.A. Cohen (1820-1921).

From the National Library of Medicine.

Date of Birth

New York, NY
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Elizabeth D. A. Cohen." (Viewed on April 19, 2021) <https://jwa.org/people/cohen-elizabeth>.


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