The Archives for Women in Medicine (AWM) collects, preserves, and provides access to the professional records of women leaders in medicine and the medical sciences. AWM collections illustrate the relationships, experiences, and struggles of women in medicine and serve as a rich resource that will inspire future generations.
Harvard Medical School has a short but accomplished history of women students and professors. Harvard Medical School began accepting women as students in 1945, and Grete Bibring, MD, became the first full professor in 1961. Today, women make up half of all medical students. As of 2016, 18% of full professors in the Faculty of Medicine are women.
Despite this shift, women remain underrepresented in the documentary record of medical history. In 1999, less than twenty of more than 900 faculty collections at the Center for the History of Medicine represented women, and only one collection was open to research. In response, the AWM collects the records and stories of these luminaries and ensures representation in the Center’s holdings are available to researchers. With the help of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women and many generous donors, the AWM now holds over fifty collections of women in medicine, with twenty open and available to researchers.
Besides our collecting activities, the AWM celebrates the achievements of women in medicine through tours, lectures, and events. The AWM also partners with the Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation to award an annual research fellowship. .
A guide to AWM collections is available.
Committee and Archivist
The AWM Advisory Committee guides the efforts of the program. The Chair of the Committee is Tayyaba Hasan, Ph.D., Professor of Dermatology at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Current Committee Members are:
- Ilene K. Gipson Ph.D., Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear
- Mary Loeken Ph.D., Joslin Diabetes Center
- Eleanor Shore M.D., Harvard Medical School
The AWM Project Archivist is Joan Ilacqua. Ilacqua has a background in public history and advocacy, and has worked at the Center for the History of Medicine since 2014. She brings a wide variety of archives and oral history experience to the program.
Support Our Activities
Archives for Women in Medicine work is possible through the generous support of donors. On average, a $1000 donation supports making one box of unique 20th century paper records with no order available to researchers. Any donation supports our mission to preserve, share, and celebrate women's achievements in medicine.
To donate, visit Support Our Activities.