Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Year of Publication


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. John R. Thelin


The Women in White generation of women physicians who graduated from American medical schools between World War II and the enactment of Title IX were trailblazers. They successfully pursued and achieved physician careers during a time when doctoring was still considered “man’s work.” They helped to clear a path to a modern medical student culture where women and men had more choices.

In a 2008 oral history interview, Dr. Jacqueline Noonan, world-renowned pediatric cardiologist, discoverer of the congenital heart condition known as “Noonan Syndrome,” and the first woman appointed to a chairman role at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, said it was exciting to observe and experience the cultural changes brought about by increasing numbers of women physicians. Rather than devoting all of their lives only to work, Noonan observed that many women were interested in professional careers balanced with family life and personal time. Because of the cultural changes brought about by women, she believes today’s medical men are making these same choices as well.

The Women in White trailblazer generation of women physicians pushed agendas which were not typical. They successfully pursued professional careers, defined their own domestic roles, and brought a new dimension to medicine. These women became leaders of medical associations, chairs of academic departments, discoverers and scientists, and givers of compassionate and innovative care in their communities. The trailblazer generation of women physicians helped pave the way to contemporary medicine.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)