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Women Physicians and the AMA

1876
Sarah Hackett Stevenson, MD becomes the first woman physician to join the AMA. She serves as a delegate from the Illinois State Medical Society. [Transactions of the American Medical Association. Philadelphia: Collins Printers, 1876. Volume 27, p. 16, 46.]

1886
Mary Harris Thompson, MD, founder of the Hospital for Women and Children in Chicago, is the first woman to present a scientific paper at an AMA Annual Meeting. The paper, "Why Diseases of Children Should be Made a Special Study," is later published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. [JAMA 13 (1886): 399-402.]

1889
Sarah Adamson Dolley, MD, of New York, known for being the first female medical intern, serves as a delegate of the Monroe County Medical Society at the AMA Annual Meeting. ["Sarah Read Adamson Dolley, MD." JAMA 54 (1910): 152-153.]

1901
Ida J. Heiberger, MD is elected to the Judicial Council (now known as the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs) of the AMA, and serves until 1903. She is the first woman to serve on an AMA council. ["Appendix 6: Members of the Judicial Council," in Morris Fishbein, A History of the American Medical Association, 1847-1947. (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1947)

1905
Vida A. Latham, MD, DDS, serves as Chairman of the AMA Section on Stomatology, the medical study of the mouth and its diseases. Dr. Latham in the first woman physician to serve as the head of an AMA scientific section. ["Section on Stomatology," American Medical Association 56th Annual Session Program. AMA Archives.]

1909
Rosalie Slaughter Morton, MD, is appointed Chairperson of the newly established Public Health Education Committee. [American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session, 1910: 42-44.]

1913
Lillian H. South, MD, of Kentucky becomes the first female Vice-President of the AMA. Her exhibit, "Intestinal Parasitic Diseases," receives a certificate of merit at the Annual Meeting in Minneapolis . [American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session, 1913: 55-56.]

1914
Alice Hamilton, MD, of Illinois becomes the third Vice-President of the AMA. Dr. Hamilton was also the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard Medical School and was a leader in the field of occupational health. [American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session 1914: 49.]

1919
Alice I. Conklin, MD of Chicago serves as a delegate from the Illinois State Medical Society. She is the first woman to serve in the AMA House of Delegates after its 1901 reorganization. [American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session, 1919: back cover page.]

1930s-1940s
Emily Dunning Barringer, MD, serves as a delegate to the AMA from the Medical Society of New York State for six years during these decades. She was a leading force in the passage of the Johnson-Sparkman Bill of 1943, which allowed women to receive military commissions in the Army, Navy and Public Health Service. ["In Memoriam."American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session, 1961: 11.]

1939
The AMA House of Delegates rejects a resolution from the Medical Society of New York which recommends that the House grant a seat to a woman delegate. The reference committee report states that a "division of the medical profession along the lines of sex for any professional purpose appears to be unwise." [American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session, 1939: 74, 82.]

1969
Louise C. Gloeckner, MD, of Pennsylvania is elected AMA Vice-President, and becomes the highest ranking woman physician in the organization to date. Dr. Gloeckner also served as the only female delegate in the House of Delegates from 1958-1968 and as an alternate delegate from 1950-1958. ["In Memoriam – M. Louise C. Gloeckner, MD," American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Interim Convention, 1978: 28; "House Elects Officers." American Medical News 28 July 1969: 8.]

1971
The AMA House of Delegates (HOD) adopts Board Report O which states that there is a need for more women physicians, describes some of the special problems of women physicians, and reviews specific changes necessary to increase their numbers. [" Board Report O: Physician Manpower and Medical Education." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session, 1971: 78-80, 325-326.]

The HOD also adopts Resolution 21 which emphasizes the high professional and civic qualifications of many women physicians and encourages their election and appointment to positions of importance within and outside the Association. [American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Interim Convention, 1971: 213, 275.]

1972
The HOD files Report A of the Council on Medical Education which reviews the current status of women in medical education and notes the importance of programs to encourage young women to prepare for careers in medicine and to apply to medical schools. [American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Session, 1972: 135-138, 304.]

1973
AMA publishes its first edition of the Directory of Women Physicians in the United States, to address growing demand for information on women in the medical profession. [American Medical Association and the American Medical Women's Association. Directory of Women Physicians in the United States. Chicago : American Medical Association, 1973.]

1975
The AMA HOD adopts a resolution stating its opposition to sex discrimination in medical institutions, including academic institutions. The resolution focuses particularly on payment of service, criteria for recruiting, hiring, promotions and tenure; appointments to policy-making committees and appointments to executive positions. ["Resolution 60." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Clinical Convention, 1975: 244, 272-273.]

1977
AMA HOD asks the AMA to "develop plans of action to increase the participation of women physicians." ["Resolution No. 5." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Interim Convention, 1977: 202.]

1978
The AMA provides substantial funds to the American Medical Women's Association to conduct leadership workshops for women in medicine. [American Medical Association. Board of Trustees Minutes. September 7-9, 1978.]

1979
AMA Board of Trustees establishes Ad Hoc Committee on Women Physicians in Organized Medicine. The committee's initial charge is to identify and address issues important to women physicians, in addition to increasing the AMA membership and the participation of women physicians and medical students at all levels of the Association. ["Board of Trustees Report X: Ad Hoc Committee on Women Physicians in Organized Medicine." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Interim Convention, 1980: 45-72.]

1981
The AMA reaffirms its policy advocating equal opportunities and opposing sex discrimination in the medical profession.

["Board of Trustees Report T: Women in Organized Medicine." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Convention, 1981: 68-70, 322.]

1983
Survey of 1,000 women physician leaders is conducted to compile the first Women Physician Leaders Databank. ["Board of Trustees Report T: Ad Hoc Committee on Women in Organized Medicine: An Informational Report." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Convention, 1983: 72-77.]

Women in Medicine Project sponsors national conference designed to help women develop leadership skills in local, state and national medical associations. ["Women in Organized Medicine, It's Our Association Too." Sept. 24-25, 1983, Cherry Hill , New Jersey .]

1984
AMA Women in Medicine Project is created to increase advocacy on women physician issues, and the Board of Trustees establishes an Advisory Panel to oversee this new group. ["Board Report NN: Ad Hoc Committee on Women in Organized Medicine: An Informational Report." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Convention, 1984: 188-192.]

1986
The AMA Women in Medicine Project publishes the "The Residency Interview: A Guide for Medical Students," which focuses on dealing with gender-based questions and attitudes.

1987
The Women in Medicine Project sponsors a "Strategies for Effective Leadership" workshop, conducted during the AMA's annual National Leadership Conference. ["Board of Trustees Report P: Outreach Program of Women Physicians Progress Report." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1987: 59]

1989
Nancy Dickey, MD, becomes the first woman elected to the AMA Board of Trustees. ["Elections." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1989: 388.]

The AMA establishes the Women in Medicine staff office. ["Board Report G: Women in Medicine." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1989: 42-43.]

1990
AMA September "Women in Medicine Month" campaign is launched as a national effort.

AMA issues groundbreaking report on eliminating "Gender Disparities in Clinical Decision Making." ["Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs Report B." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Interim Meeting, 1990: 173-180.]

The House of Delegates adopts Women in Medicine Panel policy recommendations regarding maternity leave and childcare. ["Board of Trustees Report HH." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Interim Meeting, 1990: 78-83.]

1991
Women in Medicine Panel develops the "Guidelines for Establishing Sexual Harassment Prevention and Grievance Procedures," distributed with Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs sexual harassment report. ["Board of Trustees Report H." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1992: 32.]

HOD adopts new policies on parental leave, as recommended by the WIM panel. ["Board of Trustees Report A: Parental Leave." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Interim Meeting, 1991: 18-22.]

WIM panel publishes "Women in Medicine in America : In the Mainstream."

1992
AMA establishes an Office of Women's and Minority Health.

AMA HOD adopts policy, developed by the Women In Medicine Panel, on gender neutral language. ["Board of Trustees Report K." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1992: 38-40.]

1993
Women in Medicine Panel initiates successful, ongoing project to increase the number of women serving on Residency Review Committees. ["Board of Trustees Report 29." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1994: 113.]

1994
The Women in Medicine Panel, along with Girl Scouts Organization, launches the "Physicians of Tomorrow Mentoring Program." ["EVP Report." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1994: 15.

Panel holds first national "Women Physician Leaders Summit" ["EVP Report." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1994: 20.]

1996
The American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) is granted a voting seat in the AMA House of Delegates. Diana Dell, MD, is seated as the first AMWA delegate. ["Board of Trustees Report Z: Study of the Federation." ["EVP Report." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1996: 62.]

1997
The AMA establishes a new membership-based organization, the Women Physician Congress (WPC), as an advocacy and networking forum dedicated to the issues of women in medicine.

1998
Nancy Dickey, MD, is inaugurated as the first female President of the AMA. ["Inaugural Address." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 1998: 52.]

2000
AMA elects WPC member, Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, as first female Vice-Speaker of the House of Delegates ["Elections." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 2000: 484.]

2003
Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, is elected to Speaker of the House of Delegates, the first woman to hold the position in the AMA. ["Elections." American Medical Association. House of Delegate Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 2003: 617.]

2004
AMA Celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the AMA Women in Medicine Program.

2007
The AMA House of Delegates unanimously votes for Nancy H. Nielsen, MD, PhD, to fill the post of President-Elect, the second woman ever elected to the position. Dr. Nielsen had previously filled several prominent roles within the AMA, including Speaker of the House of Delegates. [“Elections.”  American Medical Association.  House of Delegates Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 2007:  581.]

2009
Long-time AMA member Regina Benjamin, MD, MBA, is nominated and confirmed as Surgeon General of the United States. Dr. Benjamin served the AMA in several capacities including Delegate from Mississippi, member of the Advisory Committee on Minority Physicians, chair of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, and was the first member to hold the Young Trustee position on the AMA’s Board of Trustees.

2012
Ardis D. Hoven, MD is elected AMA President-Elect. Dr. Hoven served as BOT Chair for 2010-2011. [“Elections.”  American Medical Association.  House of Delegates Proceedings. Annual Meeting, 2012:  456.]