By Alexandra Brumberg
Sept 19 - Elizabeth Stern Shankman
Elizabeth Stern was born on September 19, 1915 in Cobalt, Ontario. She studied medicine at the University of Toronto before moving to America to continue her education. In 1963, she accepted a position teaching epidemiology at the School of Public Health at UCLA. Her research focused on the causes and progression of cervical cancer, and it is for work on the 250 stages of a cell's progression from healthy to cancerous that she has gained recognition. Because of her research, cervical cancer is now one of the most treatable cancers due to its slow rate of metastasis. Unfortunately, she succummed to the very disease she had been studying and died of stomach cancer in 1980.
Sept 23 - Harriet Hardy
Harriet L. Hardy was born on September 23, 1906. Though she was born in Arlington, MA, her mother relocated their family to New Jersey after the death of their father from pneumonia when Hardy was four. However, she later returned to Massachusetts to attended Wellesley College. She was among one of the most popular girls there and was elected president of her class. Having known that she wanted to be a doctor from a young age due to experience with illness in her family - aside from her father, her ten-month-year-old brother died of influenza when she was twelve - she was one of six women accepted to Cornell Medical School that year. Although few hospitals at the time were allowing women to train, Hardy was able to find a residency at Philadelphia General Hospital. After her residency, she took a position at Northfield Academy as a school physician, and there she faced a large variety of problems-- drownings, rapes, pregnancies, and even injuries that came after the hurricane of 1938 when a two-ton chimney fell on 100 students in the dining hall. The Connecticut River, flooded on account of the hurricane, blocked access to the hospital and caused Dr. Hardy and a nurse to aid the hundred students. Exhaustion and depression worked its way in and Hardy decided to take an extended leave.
Hardy soon recovered and took a position as the head of the Department of Health Education at Radcliffe College. She also began working at Massachusetts General Hospital part-time, which she continued to do for many years. She soon left Radcliffe to work for the Division of Occupation Hygiene. Her work there led to the discovery of the harmful effects due to exposure to beryllium. This became her main focus, and in 1949 she was able to persuade the fluoroscent lamp industry to remove beryllium from their lamps. Around this time, Hardy opened a clinic for workers with occupational illnesses. She rose in the field of occupational health, and in 1958, she joined Harvard Medical School as an associate clinical professor of medicine. Though she retired early, her autobiography was published in 1983.
Sept 30 - Nora Stanton Blatch Barney
Nora Stanton was born on September 30, 1883 in Basingstoke, England. She moved to America to attend Cornell University, from which she graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1905. Along with being the first woman to receive a degree in civil engineering, she was also the first woman junior member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. At the age of 32, she surpassed the age limit for junior membership, but her application for associate membership was not accepted regardless of her qualifications. She attempted to reverse the decision in a lawsuit against ASCE, but unfortunately lost the case. Unlike other women in technical fields at the time who accepted gender discrimination, Stanton Blatch Barney was a women's rights activist throughout her entire life. It is said she chose civil engineering specifically because it was the most male-dominated field out there.