Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to fly into space, as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. A qualified physician, she has served as a Peace Corps doctor, too. She has written several books and established a non-profit and a tech research organization.
Stella Immanuel is a Cameroonian-American pastor and physician. She is best known for her fringe claims about medical conditions. She achieved notoriety in 2020, when she claimed that hydroxychloroquine can cure COVID-19. Stella Immanuel has also endorsed numerous conspiracy theories concerning the Illuminati and aliens. She is also credited with founding a religious organization named Fire Power Ministries.
Mary Edwards Walker, or Dr. Mary Walker, was the only female surgeon who served injured soldiers during the American Civil War. A dress reform supporter, she believed women should value comfort more than tradition when it came to clothes. She was also the first and only Medal of Honor winner.
Annie Sprinkle is an American sexologist who supports sex work and healthcare. Sprinkle, who identifies herself as ecosexual, works as a feminist stripper, sex educator, pornographic actress, and sex-positive feminist. She is credited with popularizing lesbian pornography and the post-porn movement.
The second female U.S. surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders is a renowned pediatrician and one of the first Black women to reach the pinnacle of the medical field in the U.S. She has been dragged into multiple controversies, one of them being a result of her support for sex education and masturbation.
Best known for her pathbreaking bestseller On Death and Dying, Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross also made pioneering research in areas such as near-death studies. Her five stages of grief, or the Kübler-Ross model, has been adopted by corporates to help employees deal with loss and change.
Ophthalmologist Patricia Bath is remembered for her pathbreaking invention of the Laserphaco Probe, which made laser cataract surgery possible. The first Black female surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center and the first female faculty staff of the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute, she dedicated her life to curing blindness.
Known for winning more Olympic medals than any other female in the swimming category, Jenny Thompson had started swimming at age 7. She grew up to win swimming medals for Stanford University. She is also a qualified doctor and has practiced as an anaesthesiologist and surgeon.
Antonia Novello became the first female and the first person of Hispanic origin to become the U.S. surgeon general. Initially a pediatric nephrologist, she later switched to Public Health Service, after realizing she was too emotional to be a pediatrician. The Puerto Rican physician was also a UNICEF representative.
Famed for her dedicated service to underserved community in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, American physician Regina Mercia Benjamin held several important positions including that of the 18th Surgeon General of the United States. Throughout her career, she worked for the disadvantaged people, focusing on preventive health measures, mortgaging her home to rebuild Bayou La Batre Health Clinic after Hurricane Katrina.
Mexican-born Nora Volkow studied medicine in her country, before moving to New York University, where she became a Laughlin Fellow. Now the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, she was the first to prove that drug abuse is a brain disease. She was featured at TEDMED 2014.
Considered to be the first transgender to specialize in sex reassignment surgery, American gynecologist Marci Lee Bowers is also a specialist in functional clitoral restoration. Beginning her career in obstetrics and gynecology, she later apprenticed under Stanley Biber, the father of sex reassignment surgery, and Pierre Foldès, a pioneer in clitoral restoration, before setting up her independent practice in California.
Carol W. Greider is a molecular biologist who discovered the enzyme telomerase in 1984. Her discovery was honored several years later when she received the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with Blackburn and Jack W. Szostak for their work on telomeres. The trio also shared the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research for the same work.
Bernadine Healy created history by becoming the first woman to serve as the director of the National Institutes of Health. Apart from being a seasoned cardiologist, she had also taught medicine at institutes such as Johns Hopkins and had been the president of the American Red Cross and other non-profits.
Pediatrician Leila Denmark made headlines when she retired at age 103, after a career spanning over seven decades. She was the oldest practicing pediatrician in the world and the first woman pediatrician from Georgia. She was also the third-oldest living person in the U.S. when she died.
Maja Einstein is remembered as Albert Einstein’s younger sister and only sibling. After acquiring a Ph.D. in romance languages and literature from Bern, Switzerland, she got married. However, at the beginning of World War II, she fled to the U.S. and remained estranged from her husband till her death.
Olympic figure-skating champion Tenley Albright was also a Harvard Medical School alumna and a qualified surgeon. A bout of mild polio in childhood couldn’t deter her spirit, and she ended up becoming the first female figure skater from the U.S. to win a gold medal at the Olympics.
Florence R. Sabin was an American medical scientist best remembered as a pioneer for women in science. Sabin was the first woman to hold a membership at the National Academy of Sciences and a full professorship at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Florence R. Sabin was made an inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973.
Finnish-born Rebecka Belldegrun is not only an ophthalmic surgeon but also a billionaire businesswoman. While she initially launched a real-estate company, she later served as the CEO of the investment firm BellCo Capital LLC. She has also previously invested in the biotech and hotel industries and heads several corporate boards.