The Foundation is going on 20 years of service to women in medicine. Started to solve a specific problem, the organization has soared beyond that pursuit and will continue to broaden its impact.
A special committee of the Woman’s Medical College/Medical College of Pennsylvania SpecialTrust Fund was convened to protect the Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine, a nationally recognized archival collection, during bankruptcy proceedings at The Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann University Medical School. The Foundation was founded as a recommendation of that special committee and played a significant role in shepherding the Archives and Special Collections through the bankruptcy process. Foundation board members were, and continue to be, relieved and confident that the safety of the Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine was initiated under their guidance, and is now fully protected by merger into the Drexel University College of Medicine.
Named for Alma Dea Morani, M.D., FACS, The Alma Dea Morani Award is a unique sculpture representing humanism in medicine. Alma’s father, Salvatore Morani, was a famous sculptor who cast the hands of many notable surgeons, including his daughter. We could find no better representation of this award than a copy of Alma Dea Morani’s hand, designed by Dr. Wilma Bulkin Siegel, a fellow woman medical professional and artist.
With the most urgent part of its original mission fulfilled, the FHWIM turned its focus to its larger mission to promote the history of women in medicine and the medical sciences on a national and international level. At this point in history, it became clear that the Foundation’s greatest impact would be made by providing funding, resources, and expertise through partnerships with other organizations in effecting programs and projects that facilitate the preservation of the unique perspectives and contributions of women in medicine so that the knowledge of their work will continue to shape the future of medicine.
Maria Cerny Brabb, M.D., WMC 1958 made an endowment gift in 1999 to establish scholarship support for female students at Drexel University College of Medicine and to support the annual operating budget of the Foundation.
The fellowship program with the Countway Library of Medicine was established to give researches access to the The Archives for Women in Medicine (AWM), specifically the Mary Ellen Avery Papers, the Leona Baumgartner Papers, and the Grete Bibring Papers. The first fellows were Susan Rishworth, MLS, MA and Kimberly Jensen, Ph.D.
Board member Carolyn Britton summed up the importance of legacy with great eloquence: “Connecting the past to the present is an essential element to achieve a creative future. The continuity and connection of experiences and strengths of those before helps to define today.”