I first met Dr. Ozarin in 2015, through an introduction from AMWA Past President Dr. Leah Dickstein. We soon became friends, and on subsequent trips to the DC area, I often would stop in Bethesda, MD to visit.
AMWA Member Victoria Sanchez and I were fortunate to visit Dr. Ozarin one last time about a week before she passed away. We had a lovely evening as she reminisced about her days in the Navy. She was among the first group of women physicians to become a commissioned officer of the Navy. “The first women docs did not have it easy… but they stayed with it and in time were accepted…They [the Navy] needed physicians so they took anybody.” Dr. Ozarin never personally felt any discrimination. “I did see some, but I overlooked it,” she recalled. She was particularly proud of the fact that she had achieved the rank of Captain, and after a search through several closets, we found her Navy Uniform with the 4 rank stripes.
I told her about AMWA’s work on a film on women physicians in World War I, and mentioned Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy and the American Women’s Hospitals Service. She nodded, recalling Dr. Lovejoy’s name, “She was a leader of the women.”
As always, Dr. Ozarin offered sage advice, particularly to Victoria, a pre-medical student.
“Take care of your health. It’s important to stay healthy…I was active. Stay active. Don’t sit too much.”
“If there is ever an opportunity to broaden your experience, take it.”
“If someone asks you to do something, do it. You never know where it can lead. Say yes.”
[On pursuing a medical career] “Stay with it…You’re entering a new world.”
Dr. Lucy Ozarin lived a full and incredibly productive life, with experiences ranging from service in the Navy, a long tenure at the National Institutes of Mental Health and overseas work at the World Health Organization. Her 103 years spanned almost 4 generations and bore witness to the transformation in medicine and technology during the last century. She was by all accounts, a remarkable woman.
To learn more about Dr. Lucy Ozarin, read an account of her oral history by Dr. Leah Dickstein Gary McMillan.