Edith Petrie Brown, MD graduated from Westminster College in 1923 and received her medical education from the George Washington University Medical School, where she graduated first in her class (1927) and received a prize in Obstetrics. She interned at Grace Hospital in Detroit and completed a residency at Children’s Hospital in Washington D.C. in 1929.
Requiring employment to pay her way through college and medical school, she worked as a calculating machine operator at the U.S. Fuel Administration, as an auditor in the War Department and a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent Office.
Upon completion of her training, Dr. Brown practiced as an assistant physician at Rochester State Hospital in Minnesota and as a resident physician at the Sunny Acres Tuberculosis Hospital in Warrensville, Ohio, and Bedford Hospital in Ohio. After completing a residency in anesthesiology at Bedford Hospital, she stayed on at the hospital to practice as an anesthesiologist from 1949 to 1964. She was Chief of Staff from 1954 to through 1960.
Dr. Brown began to serve as a surveyor for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals in 1964. She continued her career in Arizona, serving as resident physician at Sage Memorial Hospital and Pima County Hospital. While in Arizona, she also conducted pediatric clinics for babies. In 1974, she became a consultant for the Arkansas State Health Department. Dr. Brown also practiced missionary medicine in Kenya, West Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Liberia.
Her active involvement with AMWA began in Cleveland, Ohio, where she served as Secretary, Treasurer, and finally as President of the Cleveland branch of the organization. She was also the founder of the Tucson branch of AMWA. She held office at the national level as well, serving as Chairman of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Chairman of the Organization and Membership Committee, Chairman of the Nominating Committee, Second Vice President for two terms from 1954 to 1956, First Vice-President in 1956, and President in 1962. She was always invested in encouraging young women to pursue medicine.
She was a member of many medical societies, including the American Medical Association, George Washington University Medical Society, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, the Cleveland Area Heart Society, the American Heart Association, the Arizona Heart Association, and more. She served on the National Council on Alcoholism, the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland, the Association of Physicians and Surgeons, the American Physicians Art Association, and the American Women’s Hospital Service Board of Directors. She was also a Fellow of the American Association of Family Physicians and a recipient of AMWA’s Elizabeth Blackwell Medal by AMWA in 1977.
Under the auspices of the United Presbyterian Church, Dr. Brown and her sister Mary Meyer launched an immunization program that successfully immunized 34,000 children against a virulent strain of measles, resulting in a significant reduction in the incidence of measles in Kenya. After retirement, she volunteered for several medical missions to Kenya, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – and marveled that at age 70, she would finally fulfill her childhood dream of being a missionary. In 1974, she was the recipient of the Westminster College Humanitarian Award, the highest alumni award from the college.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Brown was active in the Bedford Zonta Club and the Bedford Methodist Church. She enjoyed gardening, art, and photography and won awards for photography and needlework. She was married to William H. Brown who was Assistant Secretary and a patent attorney for the Harhaw Chemical Company. They had two children, Margaret (Ackerman) and Stanley, and raised a young girl from Korea. William Brown passed away in 1969, and years later, she married Howard Ray Osler, a retiree from the Boeing Co.Return to AMWA Blackwell Exhibit