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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Women Physician Pioneers of the 1960s: Their Lives and Profession Over a Half Century


Female physicians were nearly invisible in the United States of the mid-1960s. The motivation and character of women who aspired to become physicians had never been the subject of serious inquiry until psychologist Lillian K. Cartwright, PhD, began a detailed study of the women entering the University of California, School of Medicine, from 1964 through 1967 and then carefully followed them for the next twenty-five years. To complete this historic, longitudinal study to span half a century, Susan E. Detweiler, MD, now narrates the complete arc of the professional and personal lives of this group of remarkable women who forged careers into leadership within the male universe of American medicine. Their individual stories are a testament to their intellect, motivation, and perseverance, told with the insight that only a member of the group could bring.

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