Timeline of Selected Events

  • Duke Hospital opens.

    Date: 

    1930

    Of the approximately 70 MDs or PhDs on the Duke School of Medicine faculty, one is a woman, Dr. Mary Bernheim.

  • First female Four-Year Graduate

    Date: 

    1934

    Dr. Eleanor Easley is the first female to graduate from the four-year program at Duke School of Medicine. She enters the field of ob-gyn and later co-founds the Durham Women's Clinic.

  • Susan Dees joins faculty

    Date: 

    1939

    Dr. Susan Dees joins the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. In 1948 she will become the first female division chief in the school of medicine. In 1958 she will become the first female in the school of medicine to achieve the rank of full professor.

  • Mary Duke Biddle Trent in social services division

    Date: 

    1940

    Mrs. Mary Duke Biddle Trent (later Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans) works in the hospital social services division. She is a member of the Duke family, will marry two Duke physicians, serves as a Duke trustee, and maintains continuous support of Duke Medicine and Duke University through the Duke Endowment and other channels.

  • First microbiology PhD

    Date: 

    1949

    Dr. Hilda Willett is the first person to get a PhD in the Duke Department of Microbiology. She joins the faculty in 1950.

  • First female chief resident in Medicine

    Date: 

    1950

    Dr. Grace Kerby serves as the first female chief resident in the Department of Medicine. She will become the first female division chief in the department, beginning in 1966.

  • Sara Dent joins faculty

    Date: 

    1955

    Dr. Sara Dent joins the faculty in the Department of Surgery. She will become professor and chair of anesthesiology in Duke Hospital in 1968.

  • Doris Howell joins faculty

    Date: 

    1955

    Dr. Doris Howell joins the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. She is the first female to be given a Distinguished Duke Medical Alumni Award, in 1970. She will later serve as a department chair (Pediatrics and Family Medicine) in two other medical schools.

  • Jane Elchlepp joins faculty

    Date: 

    1957

    Dr. Jane Elchlepp joins the faculty in the Department of Pathology. She will become a facilities planner for the chancellor's office and play a major role in the design of the new hospital facility, Duke Hospital North, which opens in 1980.

  • Shirley Osterhout joins faculty

    Date: 

    1961

    Dr. Shirley Osterhout joins the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. She heads the Duke Poison Control Center.

  • Rebecca Buckley joins faculty

    Date: 

    1964

    Dr. Rebecca Buckley joins the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. She will perfect a surgical technique for treating babies with Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID) and will be the first female given a distinguished professorship at the School of Medicine, in 1979.

  • Sheila Counce-Nicklas becomes an associate professor

    Date: 

    1968

    Dr. Sheila Counce-Nicklas becomes an associate professor in the Department of Anatomy. She is the first female in the department who will continue her career within the department, often serving as one of the few females in Anatomy.

  • Marianne Breslin joins faculty

    Date: 

    1968

    Dr. Marianne Breslin joins the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry. She is one of the first females in the department. She will serve as chief of Division of Psychosomatic Medicine, beginning in 1973.

  • Catherine Wilfert joins faculty

    Date: 

    1969

    Dr. Catherine Wilfert joins the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. She will develop a clinical trial that will drastically diminish mother-to-infant transmission of AIDS in the United States.

  • Lois Pounds joins faculty

    Date: 

    1969

    Dr. Lois Pounds joins the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. She will head the outpatient department in Pediatrics and serve as director of admissions for the medical school.

  • Jane Richardson joins faculty

    Date: 

    1970

    Jane Richardson joins faculty in the Department of Anatomy. She will become noted for drawing proteins and creating a standardized way of portraying them visually.

  • Eva Salber joins faculty

    Date: 

    1970

    Dr. Eva Salber joins the faculty in the Department of Community and Family Medicine. She will develop medical programs for rural and underserved populations in the area.

  • Frances Widmann joins faculty

    Date: 

    1971

    Dr. Frances Widmann joins the faculty in the Department of Pathology. She will head the blood bank at the Durham Veterans Administration Hospital.

  • Brenda Armstrong joins faculty

    Date: 

    1979

    Dr. Brenda Armstrong joins the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics. She will become a pediatric cardiologist and serve as the associate dean of medical education and the dean of admissions.

  • Kathleen Clem joins faculty

    Date: 

    1998

    Dr. Kathleen Clem joins the faculty in the Department of Surgery. She will serve as the first female division chief, not including female anesthetists, in this male-dominated department.