To celebrate National Women Physicians Day, NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital unveiled a portrait of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell in the lobby on February 3, which is also Dr. Blackwell’s birthday.
The nation’s first woman doctor, Dr. Blackwell has strong ties to the hospital. In 1857, she founded the first U.S. hospital staffed entirely by women, the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, which evolved into today’s NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital. In 1868, she launched a medical college devoted entirely to the medical education of women, which was absorbed by what is today Weill Cornell Medicine.
Women physicians from NewYork-Presbyterian, who also serve as faculty at Weill Cornell Medicine, say the portrait’s prominent display is a source of pride and inspiration.
“I stand with my head held high, honored and privileged to be working in the same place founded by Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell,” says Dr. Renuka Gupta, chief of medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital and an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Having her portrait here reminds me every day to follow my dreams and passion.”
Dr. Gupta, who like Dr. Blackwell immigrated to the United States and pursued a career in medicine, says she can relate to the challenges that Dr. Blackwell faced at every turn. “Ignited by Dr. Blackwell,” who worked tirelessly to help other women succeed in medicine, Dr. Gupta formed a group last year called Women in Healthcare at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital “to support one another and learn from each other’s journey.”
In addition, several women physicians launched the Blackwell Society in 2020 to support women at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine and carry forward Dr. Blackwell’s legacy.