During Women’s History Month, the NAM features female pioneers and NAM members who have worked tirelessly to benefit the health of others and advance the field of health and medicine in a Twitter campaign. On this page, you will find those featured in this year’s campaign, and those from years past.

We encourage you to share the tweets and graphics below with your networks throughout the year – not just during Women’s History Month.

Click to scroll through our graphics in the gallery above, and look below for more information!

While working as a lab tech studying molds, Mattiedna Johnson (1918-2003) discovered a strain of mold that could cure scarlet fever. She was not credited for her discovery of what would become Terramycin, which saved countless lives.

“I never wished I didn’t have a disability.” Judy Heumann (1947-) is a civil rights activist who sued the Board of Education and organized sit-ins to protest discrimination against people with disabilities. She went on to co-found the World Institute of Disability.

Yoshioka Yayoi (1871-1959) founded the Tokyo Women’s Medical University in 1900, the first medical school for women in Japan. She resolved to start this school to make it easier for women to work in medicine, and it was founded before her 30th birthday.

Susan La Flesche Picotte (1865-1915) was the first Native American to earn a medical degree. She was a member of the Omaha tribe and an early advocate of public health reforms, especially to prevent the spread of tuberculosis, which at the time had no cure.

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. Her sister, Emily Blackwell, was the third. Both Blackwell sisters aided soldiers in the American Civil War, organizing with the Woman’s Central Relief Association.

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) was a major contributor to the discovery of the DNA double helix, although she was not recognized for her work until after her death. Her X-ray diffraction images were critical in identifying DNA’s signature structure.

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi (1947-) was awarded the Nobel Prize with Luc Montagnier for their discovery of HIV as the cause of AIDS. She has studied HIV for over 30 years, including identifying traits that allow some HIV+ carriers to limit HIV replication without drugs.

Jane Sharp (1641-1671) published the first known text on midwifery in 1671, titled The Midwives Book: or the Whole Art of Midwifry Discovered. The text includes instructions for the mother, father, & the midwife during childbirth, as well as guidance on breastfeeding.

Jane Cooke Wright (1919-2013) was the first oncologist to recognize that methotrexate was an effective chemotherapy drug. Her research moved chemotherapy from an experiment to a trusted treatment. She was also a pioneer in utilizing safe combinatorial chemotherapy.

Helen Mayo (1878-1967) was integral in reducing infant mortality in Australia & the first woman to earn an MD from University of Adelaide. She founded the Mareeba Hospital to treat infants when other hospitals refused to treat them, citing fears about cross-infection.

Helen Rodríguez Trías (1929-2001), a pediatrician, educator, and activist, helped bring national attention to the devastation of HIV and AIDS among inner-city mothers and children. In 1993, she became the first Latina president of the American Public Health Association.

Anandibai Gopal Joshi (1865-1887) was one of the first female Indian physicians in the US. She received her MD from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, and published a thesis combining learnings from American and Ayurvedic texts

Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919) was a surgeon during the Civil War and to date, the only woman to ever receive the Medal of Honor. She volunteered as a surgeon for the Union Army and worked, unpaid, for two years before she was hired by the U.S. Army Surgeon.

Florence Rena Sabin was the first woman elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences & the first woman to hold a full professorship at a medical college. Dr. Sabin’s election to the NAS is due to her work identifying embryological blood vessel development.

Emily Stowe (1831-1903) was the first female doctor to practice in Canada. She received her MD from the New York Medical College for Women. Her daughter, Augusta Stowe-Gullen, went on to become the first woman to earn an MD in Canada. 

Gerty Theresa Cori (1896-1957) was the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science. She was awarded the prize for her work in discovering the Cori cycle, or how glycogen is broken down in muscles into lactic acid and then re-synthesized and stored as energy.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (1926-2004) 1st wrote about the 5 stages of grief & was a pioneer in research on death and dying. She was an advocate for hospice and while a resident, gave a series of lectures where she had med students interact with terminally ill patients.

Audrey Evans (1925-) is a co-founder of the Ronald McDonald House, which provides housing to families of critically ill children receiving treatment. She developed the Evans Staging System for neuroblastoma & lowered the mortality rate of the disease by about 50%.

Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) is the source of the immortal HeLa cell line, which was integral in cancer/AIDS research & eradicating polio. She did not consent to her cells being taken & her family has fought for control over the use of their genetic information.

Louise Pearce (1885-1959) helped develop a treatment for African sleeping sickness, a fatal disease that devastated Africa in the 1900s. She was the 1st woman appointed at the Rockefeller Institute but despite spending her entire career there was never made a full member.

Flossie Wong-Staal (1946-2020) was the leader of the team at NCI that mapped the HIV genome, a critical step in recognizing HIV as the cause of AIDS. She was the first scientist to clone the HIV virus and genetically map it, allowing for the development of diagnostics.

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