Rosalie Slaughter Morton
Medical School: Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania
- 1909 – Dr. Rosalie Slaughter Morton was the first chair of the Public Health Education Committee of the American Medical Association.
- 1912 – Dr. Morton was one of the first women faculty members at the New York Polyclinic Hospital and Post-Graduate Medical School.
- 1916 – Dr. Morton was the first woman faculty member at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
- 1917 – Dr. Morton was appointed chairman of the War Service Committee of the Medical Women’s National Association.
Service with AMWA: Chair of the War Service Committee in the Medical Women's National Association (subsequently, AMWA) where she raised support for the American Women's Hospital
Quote: "International and cooperative peace will dawn upon the earth when every life is accorded value for survival instead of applause for extinction." (A Woman Surgeon 355)
A pioneer in medicine and advocate of gender equality in healthcare, Dr. Rosalie Slaughter Morton was born on November 28, 1872, in Lynchburg, Virginia. Coming from a wealthy family with a long-standing history of male physicians, Dr. Morton faced opposition from her own family when she decided to pursue a medical career. She was expected to follow the norm for well-bred females of her day by marrying and raising a family. “My entire upbringing and education had been designed, as it was for all Southern girls, to make me a capable wife—not to imbue me with a desire for a career.” Dr. Morton joined the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1893, and graduated four years later with the top two honors in her class. After completing her residency at Alumnae Hospital and Dispensary, she left the United States to practice medicine internationally.
Dr. Morton completed post doctorate work studying under renowned physicians in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, and London. She also collaborated with the British Laboratory in India devising treatments against bubonic plague. Upon her return to the United States in 1902, she established a successful gynecological practice in Washington D.C. After marrying attorney George Morton, she moved her practice to New York where she became a faculty member at the New York Polyclinic Hospital and Post-Graduate Medical School in the gynecology department. In 1916, she became the first female faculty member in the surgical department at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
During the First World War, Dr. Morton dedicated her services to treating wounded soldiers. In 1916, the Red Cross appointed her as the Special Commissioner giving her the task of organizing transport of hospital supplies from Paris to the war front. Upon her return to the United States, Dr. Morton used the experience she gained in field hospital management to open the American Women’s Hospital program in Europe. After joining the Medical Women’s National Association, Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, president, appointed Dr. Morton chairman of the War Service Committee. In this capacity Dr. Morton went on to collect support for the first American Women’s Hospital which opened in France in 1918.
After World War I ended, Dr. Morton continued her work of helping and educating men and women in war-torn European countries such as Yugoslavia and Serbia. She believed that international health, defined as freedom from disease, was a commanding goal of the post-war world. She put this belief into action through engagement in the International Serbian Educational Committee and a disease prevention project sponsored by the American Medical Association. Because of her wartime experiences and expertise, and her belief in the primacy of global public health, Dr. Morton became the first chair of the Public Health Education Committee of the American Medical Association.
After a stellar career that touched so many lives across the globe, Dr. Morton passed away at age 96 in 1968.