Women In Research: Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Going

Whether it was raising their children or nursing war soldiers back to health, women have always played the role of caregivers within their own families and communities. Faced with prejudice and discrimination for being a woman, it was not until recently that women earned their spot at the power table in a predominantly male world. Let’s discuss the progress made thanks to the incredible women who decided to fight for their place in medicine and research. Keep reading to hear the stories of 2 female pioneers and how they paved the way for women in medicine today.


Elizabeth Blackwell, MD (1821-1910)

Initially being admitted to Geneva College in Rural New York as a joke, Blackwell was faced with discrimination and obstacles while pursuing her medical degree. Despite this prejudice, Blackwell continued, and in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman in America to receive her medical degree. Continuing her training in London upon her graduation in 1851, Blackwell returned to New York City and opened a clinic that treated low-income women. In 1857, Dr. Blackwell opened the New York Infirmary for women and children and trained nurses for the Union hospitals during the Civil War. Blackwell opened a medical college located in New York City in 1868 and later moved back to London in 1875, where she became a gynecology professor. [1]

Florence Rena Sabin, MD (1871-1953)

Florence Rena Sabin was one of the first female research scientists. In 1905, Dr. Sabin became the first woman on faculty at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Focusing her career on researching embryology and histology, Sabin is known for proving that the lymphatic system’s development emerged from the veins in the embryo and grew out into tissues. In 1917, Sabin became a full professor of histology at Hopkins School of Medicine and became the first female to hold that rank. Sabin became the first woman to be elected president of the American Association of Anatomists in 1924. In 1925, Sabin moved to Rockefeller institution, where she became head of the cellular immunology section. The year after this, she became the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences. [2]


As women like Blackwell and Sabin continue to break through the glass ceilings in medicine, women must continue supporting women. One way you can do that is by participating in clinical trial research and contributing to the discovery of new information with women for women as they pursue to change the face of medicine.

Are you feeling inspired? Continue honoring our women of medicine and volunteer for clinical research today! We have studies enrolling in South Houston, North Houston, Lake Charles, and McAllen. Volunteers who qualify and participate are eligible for compensation. The best part is, no insurance is required. Learn more by visiting our website.


[1] https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/elizabeth-blackwell

[2] https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_283.html