Healthcare systems are built to improve the lives of patients. Not only is it a universal right, but also the mandate of humanity to take care of one another. At the center of any healthcare system, managers exist to ensure the smooth running of the entity. History has shown that it is not necessarily medical graduates and health care managers that have been at the frontline transforming and improving America’s healthcare system for decades. The following are five of the greatest people who shaped Healthcare in America.
1.Clarissa Harlowe Barton (1821 -1912)
Clarissa is one of the most decorated individuals in American history. She was among the first women employed by the government and worked as a teacher. Later on, during the American Civil war, Clara would risk her life caring for and supporting soldiers in the battlefield. In her efforts to contribute to the search for missing soldiers, she founded The Bureau of Records of Missing Men of the Armies of the United States. The Red Cross Society also credit her for the founding of The American Red Cross in 1881 which to date has provided disaster relief in America, supported mainly by volunteers.
2.Rosalyn Sussman Yalow
Rosalyn’s parents wanted her to be a schoolmistress. Instead, she pursued nuclear physics and went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1977. She is best known for developing radioimmunoassay (RIA) which transformed blood transfusion. With RIA, physicians have been able to investigate accurately, components in blood such as hormones and disease causing organisms. As a result, for every safe blood transfusion carried out, Rosalyn Sussman takes the credit.
In her time, Evelyn was a champion activist for breast cancer awareness. After her mother in law, Estee Lauder of the Lauder family business was diagnosed with the disease in 1989, she formed the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Along with Alexandra Penney, she also created the now famous pink ribbon awareness symbol. Sadly, Evelyn died in November 2011 due to ovarian cancer complications. Her legacy lives on however; millions of lives have been saved through early detection and curing of breast cancer.
4.Nancy Dickey, MD.
A native born Texan, Nancy Dickey is a woman of many firsts. She was the first female president of The American Medical Association (AMA) in 1997. Previously, she also served as the President of The Health Science Center in Texas; the first woman to hold the post. At the center of all her accomplishments has been a deep urge to improve patient care. Being a practitioner of family medicine for many years, she was instrumental in developing the Patient’s Bill of Rights while president of the AMA. Her efforts led to the revolutionizing America’s patient care. Her efforts also earned her a spot in the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
A Neuropsychology and Genetics Professor at Columbia, Nancy is a hereditary disease researcher, best known for her work surrounding Huntington’s disease. Her study of the world’s largest family suffering from the disease, resulted in the identification of the gene responsible for the sickness; a significant milestone toward finding a cure. The research which produced over 18,000 blood samples has also helped researchers seeking solutions to kidney cancer, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease and many more advance their studies. Nancy also serves the Hereditary Disease Foundation; an entity that aims to help mobilize funding towards finding cures for genetic diseases by supporting biomedical research.
Today, America’s health care faces many challenges. However, there is hope for brilliant minds are being nurtured and entering the healthcare field every day. Just as the individuals named above did their bit to improve our nation’s health, you can be one of the next five and more people to shape America’s healthcare for the next age.