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Beginning a Career in Pediatric Hematology: 1926

Mila I. Pierce Rhoads, MD
JAMA. 1988;260(11):1606-1609. doi:10.1001/jama.1988.03410110114039.
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Since retiring, I've been asked several times what it was like when I went to medical school. Was it hard being a woman physician? How did you know you wanted to be a pediatrician? Why did you work with children who had cancer? And, since leukemia was surely a fatal disease at the time, why did you choose to work with those children? The answers to all these questions are complex and I have found them difficult to answer briefly. It was true that less than 10% of the freshman medical class of 1925 were women, but they were wonderful, lasting friends, as were many of the men.

Medical school seemed no more difficult for the women in our class than for the men, who were always ready to do thoughtful things such as pith my frog in zoology or invite me to a class dance. How did I decide


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