The Women in Medicine and Science Council at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria has selected four women physicians to highlight this month as part of Women’s History Month.

Dr Crumpler Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman in the United States to earn an MD degree. She studied at the New England Female Medical College where she received her degree in 1864. She authored A Book of Medical Discourses: In Two Parts, published in 1883. This was one of the earliest medical publications by an African American. Her career was marked by dedicated care of women, children and the underserved population of the post-Civil War south. Her work continued despite the intense racism and sexism she experienced. Dr. Crumpler made her notable contribution to medicine in a time when very few African Americans were admitted to medical college.
Dr Jonassen Dr. Olga Jonassen was the first woman in the United States to chair an academic Department of Surgery at a coeducational medical school of medicine. She was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1934. She earned a medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1958. She completed residency training in surgery at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital. Dr. Jonassen served on the surgical faculty of the University of Illinois for 20 years. In 1968, she developed the department of transplantation at the University of Illinois. In 1969, she performed the first kidney transplant in the state of Illinois. She served on many editorial boards including the Annals of Surgery and served as a regular reviewer for the distinguished New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr Ramos Teresa Ramos, MD, is a leading figure in the Hispanic medical community and has worked as a physician, medical director, and health care cultural competency consultant. Her main goal in her career in medicine—to dedicate her work and other involvement to the Latino community to improve Latino Health. She earned her MD degree in 1988 and her MPH in Hospital Administration at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. Dr. Ramos has been an advisor to the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and has served on the advisory boards of the Medical Education Corporation with Cuba and the First District of Illinois Health Committee. She represented NHMA on the American Medical Association Minority Affairs Consortium Steering Committee. Through her determination to lend her voice for underserved Latino communities on the local and National level Dr. Teresa Ramos has significantly improved the face of medicine.
Dr Aiyer An internist, medical educator and leader in academic medicine, Meenakshy Aiyer, MD, is Regional Dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria. Born and raised in India, she earned her medical degree from the Madurai Kamaraj University before coming to the US to complete her internal medicine residency at the University of Louisville and the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria where she served as chief resident. She remained in Peoria and joined the faculty of the College of Medicine in 1996, following her residency. As a hospitalist and internist, she has been active in resident education and training and mentored junior faculty through the Caterpillar Faculty Scholars Fellowship. Dr. Aiyer chaired a task force to help develop a national curriculum for sub-internships at medical schools nationwide, which earned her national recognition and the Louis Pangaro Education Program Development Award.