The special day recognizes the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman to obtain her M.D. degree in 1849.
In 2018, women were the majority of both medical school applicants and matriculants for the first time, according to The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). According to Touro University Nevada’s Office of Admissions, the 2018 first-year class of medical students comprised of 43% female students compared to 36% the previous year.
“Certainly there are more women in medicine now, and the landscape of medicine has changed dramatically,” said Dr. Sharon McKenna, Assistant Professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine. “How we practice, how we’re paid, and how our patients see us…it’s all changed.”
While National Women Physicians Day includes the word “physicians” in the title, its impact is felt throughout all of Touro’s programs.
“National Women Physicians Day is important to me because it is part of the foundation that made it possible for me to realize a better future and a fulfilling career for myself,” said Michelle Young, a first-year student in the School of Physical Therapy.
While more women are working in the medical and healthcare professions, Dr. McKenna said plenty of work still needs to be done.
“If you look at women in specialties, and women in administration, there are still some barriers out there,” she said. “I think mentoring women is the most important thing for us to do. Because there are more women in medicine, we need to be out there supporting each other.”