January 31, 2023

Feb. 3 is a special day to honor women physicians. Allie Bell created her own greeting cards for the occasion.

The birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman physician, is observed as National Women Physician Day

Allie Bell has made personalized greeting cards to send to some women physicians she knows at VUMC in recognition of National Women's Physician Day, Feb. 3.. Bell poses for a photo on January 31, 2023. Photos by Donn Jones/Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Allie Bell shows some of the personalized greeting cards she created, which feature the image of the first woman physician, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. Photo by Donn Jones

Allie M. Bell, a clinical/translational research coordinator in the Division of Neuromuscular Disorders, has worked for and with a number of women physicians, including her current supervisor, Amanda Peltier, MD, MS, Division Chief of Neuromuscular Disorders.

Bell is proud of her 16 years of service to VUMC, and she is proud of Vanderbilt’s reputation for supporting women physicians.

Bell decided to take celebrating the day into her own hands. She created Women Physician Day greeting card.

“This institution has put so many of our women physicians in leadership positions,” she noted.

Bell found out that Feb. 3 is observed as National Women Physician Day, celebrated on the birthday of the first American female physician, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who earned her medical degree (finishing first in her class!) in 1849 from Geneva College in New York.

Bell decided to take celebrating the day into her own hands. She created Women Physician Day greeting cards with Blackwell’s picture and a little bit about her story and sent them, as a way to say ‘thank you,’ not only to the women physicians she was working with in Pediatric Hematology / Oncology, but also her former boss, Mary Yarbrough, MD, MPH, executive director of Vanderbilt’s Faculty/Staff Health and Wellness Programs. This year she plans to add recipient Erin Gillaspie, MD, MPH, assistant professor of Thoracic Surgery and director of the thoracic robotic program, who treated Bell’s mother after a cancer diagnosis.

She says that these are just a few of the great women physicians at Vanderbilt, and she would like the observance to grow.

“I’d like to get VUMC to pat itself on the back as a leader in promoting gender equitability, celebrate the brainiac women who are our current (& future) leaders, and keep the momentum of this work we’re doing in our hearts and minds,” she said.