Women in Jesuit Health Care

Medical Students at Georgetown University

For the spring semester, my research interests lie in examining the introduction of women into Jesuit medical schools. There are currently 4 Jesuit medical schools in the United States, Loyola University Chicago, Creighton University, Saint Louis University, and Georgetown University. I want to investigate when and why women were first admitted as medical students in these schools. My goal is to determine how culture changes, legal precedents, and activism pressured these schools into admitting women to be trained as physicians. I am uncertain whether these schools opened their doors to women earlier or later than non-Jesuit universities, but I will research that as well. I am interested in discovering if there is a connection between Jesuit values, or more generally Catholic values, and acceptance of women in to the medical profession. Furthermore, I want to research the effect that women entering medical school had on the institutions, including other male students and the faculty, on the Jesuits, and on lay Catholics; some of whom I am certain resisted and opposed the change.

My research could potentially uncover legal battles either in favor or in opposition to admitting women into medical school, so I am interested in how the courts responded as well as whether any other branches of government acted to more generally matriculate women into the top tiers of the medical profession. On a foundational level, I wish to discover when women were admitted into Jesuit medical schools in the United States and the difficulties they experienced, whether the Society of Jesus helped or hindered efforts for equality, and what factors led to women’s acceptance into medical degree programs at that particular time, as opposed to earlier or later in history.

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