International Womens day
Updated: May 10
Today is International Womens Day, a day that serves as an annual reminder and worldwide celebration of women’s achievements throughout history.
In clinical research, for so long, women were excluded from participating in clinical trials testing new drugs. We were excluded for reasons of “practicality”: the fluctuating hormones of a menstrual cycle might interfere with the research outcome, and it was often considered unethical to conduct research in women who could become or were pregnant. The long-held theory was what worked in men should work in women, what we now commonly see in advertising as “one size fits all.”
For decades we didn’t do enough to understand how issues of ethnicity, race, sex or gender — differences that were hard to study using basic experimental systems — are important variables that influence physiology, disease development and therapy.
As a woman who co-founded a Research company, I am thrilled to report that research is changing, and at GMRI, we embrace and focus on things that make us different from one another and how these differences influence health and disease so that we can all have the potential for a healthier tomorrow.
Today, we wanted to showcase the legacies of some incredible women and their impactful work in medicine. Here are Doctors who have been instrumental in saving the lives of others. Their work has ranged from pharmaceutical inventions that treat HIV to research foundations that focus on preventive breast cancer treatments. These women are just a few of the many heroes saving lives across the world.
Dr. Jane Cooke Wright
A true female trailblazer in the medical field, she was born from a family of incredible individuals. Jane graduated with honors from New York Medical College in 19 Jane’s work includes a long list of achievements: treatments for both breast and skin cancer; pioneering work on chemotherapy; and published more than 100 papers on cancer chemotherapeutics;. She led teams of cancer researchers to Africa, China, Eastern Europe, and the Soviet Union.
Jane was also one of the seven founders of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. She was the first woman to be elected president of the New York Cancer Society. Additionally, she was the highest ranked African American physician at a medical college in 1967 and was appointed to the National Cancer Advisory Board by US President Lyndon Johnson.
Dr. Susan Love
An American surgeon, she one of the most respected women’s health specialists. Susan is an author and an advocate for preventive breast cancer research. She founded the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation in 1983. The foundation’s mission, “is to achieve a future without breast cancer by focusing on prevention and finding the cause."
Other projects that Susan founded include: The Army of WomenProgram: a partner research program that focuses on preventative cures for breast cancer for both women and men and Health of Women Study, which uses an online cohort to offer monetary and medical advice to women. Susan, herself was diagnosed with cancer which invigorated her efforts in advocating for better attention to be paid for both researchers working to find cancer cures and patients of the diseases.
Dr. Gertrude Elion
An American biochemist and pharmacologist, Gertrude won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988. She invented various drug treatments for leukemia, gout, malaria, viral herpes and the prevention of kidney transplant rejection. Gertrude most well known contribution was the first antiretroviral drug to treat AIDS, aziothymidine, known as AZT.
Fun fact: Gertrude never earned a Ph.D in her field of biochemistry, she was however awarded honorary degrees from Polytechnic University of New York, and an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University.
Of course, we wont forget to acknowledge the Incredible women on our own team at GMRI.
In a profession dominated by men, it is important to review the lives and work of these female leaders as well as the many more making breakthroughs in medicine. Women have, and will continue to be leading the charge in making good health and wellness available to all people, worldwide.