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Voices through the decades

The late Judy Frank, cheering on a preemie.

One of the features in the Fall 2011 issue of Dartmouth Medicine, "Once Upon a Time," looks back at a time that is now almost unimaginable—when there were no women at DMS. The first women joined the faculty in the 1950s, and the first woman student matriculated in 1960.

On March 26, 2011, the Dartmouth Medical School Offices of Alumni Relations and of Student Affairs presented a conference titled "50 Years of Women at DMS." One of the sessions during the conference was a panel discussion by five women alumnae of DMS—representing each decade from the 1970s to the present. They spoke about their individual journeys to and through medical school and training, emphasizing the role that mentoring had played in their career choices.

The women who took part in the panel discussion were (from the left in the video):

  • Dr. Pearl O'Rourke, DMS '73
  • Dr. Diane McGrory, DMS '85
  • Dr. Roshini Pinto-Powell, DMS Fellow '92-94
  • Dr. Lisa Adams, DMS '90
  • Dr. Erin Salcone, DMS '05

Their experiences are reflective of changing attitudes and numbers in medicine—as well as in society at large—over the past 40 years. O'Rourke, for example, took it for granted that she would be asked on medical school interviews why she should be accepted rather than a male applicant, and then thought that being one of 4 women in a class of 40 was "a lot of women." Salcone, on the other hand, was a member of a class that was more than half women, and when she had a baby shortly after returning to Dartmouth to join the faculty, she took a three-month maternity leave and then her husband took a one-month paternity leave.

Click below to watch the video of their reflections.

View video


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