August 15, 1994
Media Contact:Debbie Bangledorf
Phone: (410) 223-1731
TO: Editors, producers and reporters
FROM: Michele Fizzano
DATE: August 15, 1994
SUB JECT: A CENTURY LATER--WOMEN MORE NUMEROUS THAN MEN AT THE JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
For the first time in its 101-year history, more women than men will report for freshman year at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. They begin classes on Sept. 6.
Hopkins admitted three women to its very first class in 1893, but never before have women outnumbered men. "We've been inching toward a 50-50 split for several years now," says Catherine DeAngelis, M.D., vice dean for academic affairs and faculty. "Last year, women comprised 43 percent of the freshman class. This year, they are 53 percent." That's 63 women in a class of 120 chosen from an applicant pool that has remained constant (43 percent female) for several years.
She notes that the school has not changed its admission policy or acceptance habits in order to increase the number of women. "Each year brings a greater number of exceptional women candidates," explains DeAngelis. "Our admissions committee simply chooses the best students. The process takes months, and no one stops for a gender tally."
Hopkins opened its doors in the Victorian era, when women were thought too frivolous and delicate to handle medical education, with its "gory" emphasis on human anatomy and disease. Reactions to the news that women were accepted to Hopkins were strong. The step was revolutionary--except for a few women's colleges, very few American medical schools of any stature allowed a woman to take a degree.
Five feisty young Baltimore women who raised the $500,000 Hopkins needed to open its doors insisted on admittance of women. But, says DeAngelis, the one remaining photograph of that first School of Medicine class shows the struggle women have faced from the very beginning: Pictured in the formal portrait are 18 men, a dog and not one of the three female students. Thankfully, times have changed, says DeAngelis, and Hopkins is a place where women can thrive and reach their potential.
"I am proud that the number of women students has increased at a steady pace over the four years of my tenure," says Dean Michael Johns, M.D. Recent female graduates of the school include his own daughter, Christina Johns-Semino.
A newly formed Women's Leadership Council, for example, has added force to the intitiatives to equalize salaries, increase the number of female professors and recognize research projects directed by women. "Our ultimate goal is to significantly increase the number of women mentors for students," says DeAngelis. "There is no better way to say, 'Welcome here!"