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March 16, 2010

SIU Med School to Host “Changing the Face of Medicine” Exhibit and Public Programs

Women physicians are the focus of a traveling exhibit opening at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine March 31 – May 12 in the SIU medical library (fourth floor), 801 N. Rutledge St., Springfield.  “Changing the Face of Medicine:  Celebrating America’s Women Physicians” tells the story of how American women who wanted to practice medicine have struggled over the past two centuries to gain access to medical education and to work in the medical specialty they chose.

Since the mid-1800s, when Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn an M.D. degree in America, women have made enormous strides in every area of medicine and have achieved success in work once considered “unsuitable” for women.  Women physicians are now found in every branch of medicine working as researchers, educators, surgeons, family practitioners, specialists and government officials.  “Changing the Face of Medicine” features the life stories of a rich diversity of women physicians from around the nation and highlights the broad range of their medical specialties.

The traveling exhibition Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians was developed by the Exhibition Program of the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office.  The traveling exhibition has been made possible by the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health.  The American Medical Women’s Association provided additional support.

Two free programs are open to the public.  “The Role of Women Physicians in Academic Medicine,” is a panel of SIU women physicians at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, in SIU’s second floor lobby, 801 N. Rutledge, Springfield.  A second program with Deborah McGregor, professor of history at the University of Illinois Springfield, will be scheduled in May.

Two interactive kiosks traveling with the exhibition offer access to the NLM's "Local Legends" Web site, which offers access to educational and professional resources for people considering medicine as a career.  A section of the Web site, called "Share Your Story," allows the public to add the names and biographies of women physicians they know.

The Changing the Face of Medicine exhibit is co-sponsored by St. John’s Hospital Health Sciences Library and the Illinois State Library.  It is open to the public during the School's regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.  For more information about the exhibit, go to the Web site www.siumed.edu/lib/, call the SIU medical library at 217-545-2113 or e-mail reference@siumed.edu.

Established in 1970, SIU School of Medicine is this year celebrating the 40th anniversary of its founding.   The School’s mission is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting its health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.  Its Web site is www.siumed.edu.

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