A Pioneering Female Physician

Connie GuionAll this month we’re bringing you stories from North Carolina women’s history. Check back here each week day for a new tidbit on the women of our state’s past.

At her death in 1971, Dr. Connie M. Guion was the dean of the nation’s women physicians. The first female professor of clinical medicine at an American university, the first female member of the medical board of New York Hospital and the first living female doctor for whom a major hospital building was named, Guion was a true pioneer for women in the medical field. Born in 1882 at a plantation near Lincolnton, Guion was educated at Miss Kate Shipp’s School in Lincolnton, Northfield Seminary, Wellesley College and Cornell Medical School. On completing her medical degree, she interned at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital during the flu epidemic of 1918 and gained a national reputation in medicine at a time when few women entered the field. For almost 50 years she was associated with the Cornell medical clinic, where she became a full professor in 1946. Famous for working 12-hour days until her retirement at age 87, the New York Herald Tribune called her the “greatest lady of our time.” She visited her native state often and is buried in Charlotte.

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