Elizabeth Blackwell, First American Female Doctor of Medicine
Inspired by a close friend's illness, a young Elizabeth Blackwell decided to pursue a career in medicine and in 1847 was accepted into Geneva Medical College in upstate New York. Her attendance was ridiculed and criticized by students and professors alike, but Blackwell persisted and in 1849 graduated at the top of her class, becoming the first female doctor of medicine in the United States.
Blackwell devoted her life to improving public health, opening up a successful and long-standing clinic for women and children in New York, as well as a medical college specifically for women. She further helped to establish the US Sanitary Commission in 1861, promoting the importance of sanitary conditions in health care. She died in 1910.