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Helen M. Ranney (1920-2010)

Helen Ranney, MD

Helen Ranney, MD, was among the most distinguished physician-scientists in academic medicine. She was the first female chairperson of a department of medicine in the United States and the first female president of both the Association of American Physicians and the ѻý. Dr. Ranney was also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Ranney was born and raised on a dairy farm in New York and, in her view, benefited greatly by early education in a one-room schoolhouse. Her upbringing imbued her with a strong sense of responsibility and the importance of working with her own two hands, qualities which were key determinants of her later success in research.

To fully appreciate Dr. Ranney's career, one must not only focus on her impressive accomplishments but also look at the obstacles she overcame. After graduating from Barnard College, the women's affiliate of Columbia University, Dr. Ranney hoped to enter Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) but found that gender bias made access difficult.