Medical Care by Women for Women
Dr. Marie Zakrzewska 1829-1902


Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska was born in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of a midwife. In 1851, she graduated from the school of midwives in Berlin and was appointed assistant to the director of the Royal Hospital Charité. Male staff members expressed displeasure over this appointment, and Zakrzewska resigned. In 1853 she emigrated to the United States, where, after a year of struggling to keep alive her dream of becoming a doctor, she met Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who helped her go to Cleveland Medical College (Western Reserve).

In 1859 Zakrzewska was invited to teach at the New England Female Medical College in Boston, a school of midwifery. But she wanted a hospital with higher standards of medical education-medical care by women for women. In fact, Dr. Zakrzewska wanted this new teaching hospital to be superior to those for male students.

The New England Hospital for Women and Children opened in Boston in 1862 with an all-female staff. The hospital was the site of the first professional nursing school in the country and the graduation of the first African American trained nurse, Mary Eliza Mahoney, in 1879. By 1881 Zakrzewska's school was so prestigious that only women who already had a medical degree could attend.

By 1969 the hospital's name and mission changed; it is now Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury, which under the leadership of Jackie Jenkins-Scott became a national model for contemporary urban health care. further Reading


  Hospital with a Heart by Virginia Drachman, 1984