Advancing Healthcare: Women’s Impact on Modern Medicine


Modern healthcare has seen progress and innovation from the pioneering contributions of women throughout history. These determined, inspirational leaders have left an everlasting mark on healthcare, shaping the way we understand, diagnose, and treat patients today. While there are many women that have contributed to improved healthcare throughout history, in this article we share four and their achievements.  

Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) 

Known as the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale revolutionized healthcare by introducing sanitary practices by enforcing persistent hand washing and proper ventilation. As a result, her methods helped lower mortality rates and established nursing as a respected profession. Her work laid the foundation for modern nursing education and patient care. 

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Marie Curie (1867-1934) 

A pioneering physicist and chemist, Marie Curie's discoveries in radioactivity led to advancements in medical imaging and cancer treatment. She discovered radium and polonium, which laid the groundwork for radiation therapy in cancer treatment as well as diagnostics with X-ray technology. She was the first woman to ever win a Nobel prize and is one of five winners to ever receive two. 


Virginia Apgar (1909-1974) 

Virginia Apgar was an American obstetrical anesthetist and medical researcher. She is best known for developing the Apgar Score, a method used to quickly assess the health of newborns immediately after birth. This effective assessment has since become standard practice in delivery rooms worldwide, enabling medical professionals to quickly identify newborns who may need immediate medical attention. Virginia Apgar's work has had a profound impact on newborn care, significantly reducing infant mortality rates and improving overall neonatal healthcare. 


Audrey Evans (1925-2022) 

Known as the "Mother of Neuroblastoma”, Audrey Evans was a pioneer in the study and treatment of childhood cancer. She dedicated her career to finding a cure, eventually reducing its mortality rate by approximately 50%. In 1971, she created the Evans staging system to determine neuroblastoma disease progression and the most effective treatments. Evans made an honorable impact on pediatric oncology and has saved many lives with her groundbreaking research. 


These women have not only saved countless lives but have inspired future generations of healthcare professionals to push for improved medical education and practice. Their legacy serves as a testament to the transformative power of women in shaping the future of medicine and ensuring the well-being of patients worldwide. 




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