Medicine

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Gerty Theresa Cori

Gerty Cori’s work on carbohydrate metabolism, which changed our understanding of diabetes and other diseases, earned her the Nobel Prize for Medicine, making her the first American woman and third woman ever given the honor.

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.

Barbara Seaman

Medical journalist Barbara Seaman exposed the risks of birth control pills, making them the first-ever prescription drug to include an FDA warning health on possible side effects.

Nancy Miriam Hawley

Nancy Miriam Hawley helped found the Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Inc., the organization responsible for writing the best seller Our Bodies, Ourselves, which empowered women to take control of their own health care.

Rachel Cowan

As one of the founders of the Jewish healing movement, Rachel Cowan blended modern holistic medicine and counseling with traditional Jewish rituals and prayers to help change how people responded to illness.

Abby Shevitz

In her work on AIDS and HIV, Abby Shevitz became an advocate for patients who often had no one else to turn to.

Ruth Rothstein

As chief of Cook County Bureau of Health Services, Ruth Rothstein helped Chicago hospitals create a better safety net for the disadvantaged.

Marilyn Paul

Marilyn Paul risked her safety to train a mixed group of Israeli and Palestinian health care professionals in the Gaza Strip.

Marla Oros

Marla Oros offered health care directly to poor and underserved populations in Baltimore through innovative programs that brought nurse practitioners out of hospitals and into the communities.

Judith Hirshfield-Bartek

As an oncology nurse, Judi Hirschfield-Bartek raised awareness of the importance of genetic testing and environmental factors in understanding breast cancer.

Lynn Amowitz

After years of offering medical help to refugees, Lynn Amowitz decided she needed to solve the problems at their source: the human rights violations driving refugees from their homes.

Lillian D. Wald

Lillian D. Wald’s dedication to serving poor and working-class communities as a nurse and organizer transformed health care in America.

Gertrude Elion

Gertrude Elion revolutionized the ways drugs are developed and received the Nobel Prize in Medicine even though she never earned her PhD.

Laurie Schwab Zabin

Laurie Schwab Zabin's interest in reproductive health began in a volunteer capacity and then led to a distinguished professional career at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Dr. Ruth Finkelstein

A beloved doctor for generations of Baltimore women, Dr. Ruth Finkelstein promoted women's health and reproductive rights over a career that spanned half a century.

Blanche Gordon Narodick

Journalist and international Red Cross volunteer, Blanche Gordon Narodick graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington and earned a masters degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, launching her career as a journalist, ghost writer, and public relations consultant. Raised in part by her aunt and uncle, she met her husband, Dr. Phillip Narodick, in graduate school and refers to their partnership as a “true love story.” During World War II Blanche worked with the American Red Cross and has continued that affiliation, initiating an international chapter in Seattle, promoting “Holocaust tracing” helping Jewish families locate relatives, and founding a sister chapter in Shanghai, China. For her work, the ARC awarded Blanche the Harriman Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service in 1989.

Shirley G. Bridge

One of Washington State’s first female pharmacists, Shirley was born in Seattle’s Swedish Hospital in 1922. She practiced pharmacology until she retired at age 66, and with her husband, Herb, raised two children. A pioneer on many fronts, Shirley was one of the first Jewish women to become a member of the Women’s University Club. A passionate and indefatigable supporter of women’s and health issues, Shirley survived five primary cancers and was a no-nonsense pragmatist venerated for getting things done.

Barbara Seaman

This feminist disobedience, day after day, became a major story in the news, and by June we had secured an FDA warning to users of the Pill.

Sophie Rabinoff, 1918

Meet Sophie Rabinoff as the Camera Saw Her

Stephen Benson

Sometimes at JWA a story insists on coming to life. 

The article on Sophie Rabinoff  in our online Encyclopedia was a good scholarly representation of the pioneering physician's life and work. But no photos accompanied it; nothing helped lift it off the page. A few weeks ago, her great niece Jennifer Arnold contacted us to say that she had some photos of her aunt and wondered if we could add them to the article.  I told her that we would be happy to, and she kindly scanned and sent them to me.

Women of Valor: Jewish Heroes Across Time

Learn about the lives of three trailblazing women and get some practical ideas for how to bring their stories into your community in creative ways.
Thanksgiving Meal

We're Grateful For... Having Come A Long Way, Baby

Gabrielle Orcha

As we approach this year's Thanksgiving, I asked some of the JWA staff members how far they've come—personally or politically, culturally or collectively—and how that's inspired a sense of gratitude. Here is a sampling from Etta King, Michelle Cash, Stephen Benson, and Ellen Rothman.

Helen Bennett Sneezes

Is It Cold and Flu Season Yet?

Erica Zelfand, ND

As the air turns brisk and squash appear in the grocery store, I realize that autumn really is here. Though winter is still a ways off, a quarter of my colleagues and a handful of our patients are already starting to sniffle and cough.

Topics: Medicine
Pink Cupcakes

Why I'm Resistant To All Things Pink In October

Judith Rosenbaum

Dr. Judith Rosenbaum, Director of Public History at the Jewish Women's Archive and lead developer of Living the Legacy educational materials, first wrote this piece for Role/Reboot. There you can read the piece in its entirety.

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