Women in Anthropology

Women in Chemistry

Women in Engineering

Women in Environmental Sciences

Women in Information Technology

Women in Medicine

Women in Physics

Women in Space Exploration

Women Inventors



By Andrew Morkes and Kim Etingoff

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WORDS TO UNDERSTAND: These words, with their easy-to-understand definitions, will increase readers’ understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. SIDEBARS: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. TEXT-DEPENDENT QUESTIONS: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. RESEARCH PROJECTS: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Chapter 1: Careers in Medicine 10 Rosalyn Yalow: Understanding Radioisotopes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Chapter 2: Terms of the Trade 26 Antonia Novello: First Woman Surgeon General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Chapter 3: Educational Training and Salaries 38 Margaret Chan: Protecting the Health of the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Chapter 4: Exploring Careers in Medicine 56 Marcella Fierro: Medical Pathologist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Chapter 5: The Future of Medicine and Careers 76 Lori Alvord: Navajo Doctor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Further Reading and Internet Resources 90 Educational Video Links 91 Index 92 Photo Credits 95 Author and Consultant Biographies 96 Key Icons to Look For


Have you wondered how the natural world works? Are you curious how science could help sick people get better? Do you want to learn more about our planet and universe? Are you excited to use technology to learn and share ideas? Do you want to build something new? Scientists, engineers, and doctors are among the many types of people who think deeply about science and nature, who often have new ideas on how to improve life in our world.

Seventy-four percent of family practitioners

say that they would choose a career in medicine again if they were given the chance to start over in their jobs, according to the Medscape Physician Compensation Report .


It’s estimated that only 5 percent of all physicians in the United States

are African American.

We live in a remarkable time in human history. The level of understanding and rate of progress in science and technology have never been greater. Major advances in these areas include the following: • Computer scientists and engineers are building mobile and internet technology to help people access and share information at incredible speeds. • Biologists and chemists are creating medicines that can target and get rid of harmful cancer cells in the body. • Engineers are guiding robots on Mars to explore the history of water on that planet. • Physicists are using math and experiments to estimate the age of the universe to be greater than 13 billion years. • Scientists and engineers are building hybrid cars that can be better for our environment.



Scientists are interested in discovering and understanding key principles in nature, including biological, chemical, mathematical, and physical aspects of our world. They observe, measure, and experiment in a systematic way in order to test and improve their understanding. Engineers focus on applying scientific knowledge and math to find creative solutions for technical problems and to develop real products for people to use. There are many types of engineering, including computer, electrical, mechanical, civil, chemical, and biomedical engineering. Some people have also found that studying science or engineering can help them succeed in other professions such as law, business, and medicine. Both women and men can be successful in science and engineering. This series provides information on education and careers in a variety of science fields. It also highlights women leaders who have made significant contributions across many scientific fields, including chemistry, medicine, anthropology, engineering, and physics. Historically, women have faced barriers to training and building careers in science, which makes some of these stories even more amazing. While not all barriers have been overcome, our society has made tremendous progress in educating and advancing women in science. Today, there are schools, organizations, and resources that help women to pursue careers as scientists or engineers at the highest levels of achievement and leadership. The goals of this series are to help you with the following: 1. Learn about women scientists, engineers, doctors, and inventors who have made a major impact in science and our society 2. Understand different types of science and engineering and key terms in these fields 3. Learn more about the variety of educational paths one can pursue to enter these careers

4. Explore science and math in school and real life 5. Learn about the employment outlook in science and engineering specialties

You can do a lot of things to learn more about science, math, and engineering. Explore topics in books or online, take a class at school, go to science camp, WOMEN IN MEDICINE


or do experiments at home. More important, talk to a real scientist, doctor, or engineer! Call or email your local college to find students and professors. They would love to meet with you. Ask your doctors about their education and training. Or you can check out these helpful resources: • NOVA has very cool videos about science, including profiles on real-life women scientists and engineers: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova. • National Geographic has excellent photos and stories to inspire people to care about the planet: www.nationalgeographic.com/science. Here are examples of online courses for students, of which many are free: 1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) OpenCourseWare for high school: https://ocw.mit.edu/high-school 2. Khan Academy tutorials and courses: www.khanacademy.org 3. Stanford University Online High School: https://onlinehighschool.stanford.edu Other skills will become important as you get older. Build strong communication skills by asking questions and sharing your ideas in class. Ask for advice or help when needed from your teachers, mentors, tutors, or classmates. Be curious and resilient: Learn from your successes and mistakes. The best scientists and engineers do. Learning science and math is one of the most important things that you can do in school. Knowledge and experience in these areas will teach you how to think and how the world works, and they can provide you with many adventures and paths in life. I hope you will explore science, engineering, and medicine—you could make a difference in this world. Ann Lee-Karlon, PhD Past-President, Association for Women in Science




Words to Understand chronic illness: a disease that lasts at least three months and that may get worse over time diagnosis: the identification of an illness or other medical issue by a physician after conducting a medical examination and reviewing the results of tests empathetic: understanding others’ feelings outpatient care center: a medical facility that provides

services that do not require an overnight stay; these include wellness and prevention services, treatments, diagnostic services, and rehabilitation

palliative medicine: a medical specialty that seeks to reduce suffering and improve the quality of life for those who are seriously ill



Ask a group of young people today what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll probably find at least one or two who say, “A doctor.” Being a medical doctor is the dream of many students, and it is an achievable one. The road to becoming a doctor is a long one. Practicing medicine requires dedication, hard work, and even some sacrifices along the way. Yet, each year, thousands of people make the decision to start that journey. In the past, if you were a woman, becoming a doctor was especially difficult. The medical profession used to be made up almost entirely of men. A woman who wanted to practice medicine was considered unusual, and she faced many obstacles to her success. Nonetheless, many women decided to follow their dreams. They overcame the adversity they faced. Today, it is easier for women to become doctors, and more and more women are entering this field. About 35 percent of doctors in the United States are female, according to Statista.com. This percentage is still much lower than the percentage (47 percent) of females in the US workforce. Women make up a larger number of physicians in other countries. For example, 74 percent of doctors in Latvia are women. Other countries with a high percentage of female physicians include Estonia (73 percent), Spain (52 percent), Sweden (47 percent), United Kingdom (46 percent), and Germany (45 percent).

DID YOU KNOW? The career of doctor is the most respected occupation, according to a survey conducted in thirty-five countries by the global education charity Varkey Foundation.



Most people enter the medical field because they care about helping others—not because of the opportunity to make a lot of money. In this photo, a physician administers a nebulizer treatment to a child with asthma.

WHY BE A DOCTOR? There are many reasons someone would choose to become a medical doctor. A common motive is to help people live healthier lives and to save the lives of those who are seriously injured or ill. Doctors do good in the world, and many young people want to be a part of that. They imagine the thrills they would get from curing someone of cancer or delivering a baby. Other young adults are fascinated by the human body. Perhaps they’re even fascinated by one body system or organ in particular, or they may be interested in a particular disease. People who want to study the heart might become cardiologists, while people who are interested in reproduction might become gynecologists. Others, known as oncologists, treat cancer.



Many doctors come from families with doctors in them. They grow up seeing their mother, father (or both!), or an aunt or uncle work as a physician, and it becomes a normal choice for a profession later on in life. They have always wanted to be a healer, and already know a little bit about what it’s like. Some people say that physicians choose their jobs because they want to make money. That might be true for some doctors, but it’s not the end of the story. Doctors in training have to attend years and years of school, and most go into debt before they ever start making money. People need to have another good reason to go through the tough training it takes to become a practicing doctor. Money isn’t the only motive!


The medical profession hasn’t always been friendly toward women. Luckily, there have always been women who wanted to be physicians, and they overcame the odds to practice medicine. Actually, during most of history, women had a big role to play in healing. Women often treated sickness, helped other women give birth, and generally made people more comfortable. It was only more recently that people started to think that men were best fit to be doctors and healers. Today, however, women are once more proving that they excel in the world of medicine. After being kept out of medical schools and hospitals for decades, more and more women today are joining the ranks of doctors. There are plenty of opportunities for women in medicine. The numbers of female doctors are lower than female medical school students, but that doesn’t mean things aren’t changing. The trend toward an increasing number of women doctors is pretty new. Many older doctors, both male and female, will retire soon, and as younger ones take their places, the numbers of women will increase. In fact, more than 60 percent of physicians WOMEN IN MEDICINE


A dermatologist uses telemedicine technology to examine a patient.

under the age of 35 are female, according to the medical technology company athenahealth. Some specialties are more attractive to women than others. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), the top specialties for women in 2019 were obstetrics and gynecology, allergy and immunology, pediatrics, medical genetics and genomics, hospice and palliative medicine , and dermatology. PHYSICIAN CAREERS Some doctors are general practitioners (GPs), meaning that they treat people of all ages and see the same patients, often for years. They are the first physician a patient usually visits if they have the flu or are otherwise not feeling well, or simply need a medical checkup. They also help patients manage chronic illnesses .



If the GP determines that a patient has a serious issue with their heart, digestion, knee, or other system or part of the body, they refer the patient to a medical specialist. For example, a patient who is having a lot of trouble with hay fever or other allergies would be referred to an allergist. If tests determine that a patient has cancer, the GP will refer them to an oncologist. If the patient complains of feeling sad or depressed, the doctor may refer them to a psychiatrist. There are nearly fifty medical specialties, according to the AMA. You can view a list of them at https://freida.ama-assn.org/specialty. Additionally, Chapter 2: Terms of the Trade provides definitions for many medical specialties.

Learn what it’s like to work in medical research


Doctors have a variety of choices when it comes to jobs. Most work in medical offices or hospitals, while others work in nursing homes, outpatient care centers , and laboratories and other research facilities. You’ll find doctors on the sidelines of sporting events working as sports physicians, on television and radio hosting shows discussing medicine and personal health, and near the front lines of battles,


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