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Lena Kenin

Lena Nemerovsky Kenin made major contributions to both gynecology and psychology with her successful medical practice and her groundbreaking work on postpartum depression. Kenin earned a BS from the University of Washington in 1921 and worked as a schoolteacher for three years before earning an MD from the University of Oregon Medical School in 1929. Her obstetrics and gynecology practice was geared to the needs of women: she designed her office to have separate entrances and exits to protect women’s privacy and quickly became one of the most popular obstetricians in Portland. In 1958 she enrolled in a psychiatric program at the University of Pennsylvania and did residencies at Johns Hopkins and the Philadelphia Hospital for Mental and Nerve Disorders before returning to Portland in 1961 to open a psychiatric practice. She also taught psychiatry at the University of Oregon Medical School and served as chief consultant for the school’s health service. In 1962 she published her first major article on postpartum depression, “Mental Illness Associated with the Postpartum State,” and continued her dual focus on women’s physical and mental health until her death.

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Lena Nemerovsky Kenin
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Lena Nemerovsky Kenin.
Courtesy of University of Oregon Medical School.
Date of Birth
November 5, 1897
Place of Birth
Portland, Oregon
Date of Death
March 24, 1968

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Lena Kenin." (Viewed on December 16, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/kenin-lena>.

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