Margaret Chan, MD, recently concluded just over a decade leading the World Health Organization (WHO). Prior to her tenure at WHO, Dr Chan served as the Hong Kong Director of Health, where she worked to improve surveillance of communicable diseases and enhance public health professional training. She also managed responses to the severe acute respiratory syndrome emergency as well as the H5N1 avian flu outbreak.23

Jennifer Doudna, PhD, has made perhaps one of the biggest contributions to personalized medicine,  developing a way to manipulate an organism’s DNA using the Cas9 protein — playing a primary (if contested) role in advancing CRISPR technology.24-26 That discovery has paved the way for future research to treat dozens of diseases, and Dr Doudna continues to study RNA interference at her laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley.27


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Kimani Paul-Emile, JD, PhD may have a degree in law instead of medicine, but she is currently leading the search for practical solutions to address patient racism against physicians.28 Her perspective piece on the issue, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,29 sits in the 99th percentile of articles viewed among all medical journals. Dr Paul-Emile received a Making a Difference in Real World Bioethics Dilemmas Grant from the Greenwall Foundation in 2017 and has continued her research by working with focus groups to determine solutions to racism in health care.

Mae C. Jemison, MD, began her career as a volunteer in Cuba, Kenya, and Thailand, while attending Cornell University Weill Medical College. Later, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone and Liberia.30 Dr Jemison did not limit herself to excellence only in the field of medicine. Even while working as a general practitioner with CIGNA Health Plans in California, she was preparing for her next career — at NASA. The chemical engineer and astronaut was the science mission specialist and co-investigator of a bone cell research experiment conducted aboard the Endeavour in 1992, when she became the first African American woman to go into space.31 Since leaving NASA in 1992, she has not slowed down. First, Dr Jemison formed the Jemison Group, an organization dedicated to implementing advanced technology projects in the developing world. Then Dr Jemison founded The Earth We Share, an international science camp for students ages 12 to 16. Currently, Dr Jemison leads the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) program, a joint effort between the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and NASA.32

Anne Schuchat, MD, is the current acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and an Assistant Surgeon General in the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service. Dr Schuchat has spent her career improving both national and global public health.33 Since joining the CDC in 1988, she has investigated the 2001 anthrax attacks, directed the CDC’s National Immunization Program, developed the policy that reduced group B streptococcal infections in newborns by 80%, led the WHO’s Beijing City epidemiology team during the severe acute respiratory syndrome emergency response, worked to expand global vaccine availability, and helped lead the CDC’s response to the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic.

Nina Tandon, PhD, is the biomedical engineer behind EpiBone, the first company to grow human bone using autologous stem cells.34,35 The technology uses a patient’s own cells, eliminating the risk for transplant rejection. Currently a senior fellow at the Columbia University Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, Dr Tandon has co-authored Super Cells: Building with Biology and owns 3 patents.

Do you know a woman in medicine who you would like to honor? Throughout March, Medical Bag will be collecting your stories about the women behind the white coat — women who are advancing clinical research and the field of medicine one day at a time. At the end of Women’s History Month, our staff will share your stories. 

References

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  3. American Red Cross. Founder Clara Barton. http://www.redcross.org/about-us/who-we-are/history/clara-barton. 2018. Accessed March 6, 2018.
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