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National Women Physicians Day: Read about 10 inspiring women in osteopathic medicine

Held annually on Feb. 3, NWPD is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate female physicians.

Four years ago, Hala Sabry, DO, spearheaded the founding of National Women Physicians Day (NWPD). Held annually on Feb. 3, NWPD is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate female physicians.

“Women are still facing gender inequity in the medical field despite so many years of training at a professional level,” Dr. Sabry told The DO in 2017. “… Physicians are often trained not to ask for help or self-promote, but if we want to be respected, we have to raise awareness of the issues we are facing, and we have to celebrate each other.”

From teaching medical students in Alaska to shaping Time’s Up Healthcare, many women in osteopathic medicine are doing amazing things. Below are nine DOs and one osteopathic medical student The DO featured in the past year and the links to their stories.

10 women in osteopathic medicine to know

In December 2018, Alin Gragossian, DO, an emergency medicine resident, suddenly and unexpectedly learned that she needed a heart transplant at the age of 30 because of a rare genetic anomaly. A month later, she got one. Dr. Gragossian continues to chronicle her transplant experience on her blog and has also become a vocal advocate for organ donation.

Alin Gragossian, DO, checks out her scar a few days after heart transplant surgery.

Roberta Gebhard, DO, and Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, serve on the 12-person advisory board for Time’s Up Healthcare, which launched last year as a group effort aiming to raise awareness of gender inequalities and sexual harassment in health care settings to ensure a safe and respectful workplace.

“You can’t intervene in a problem if you don’t know it exists,” says Dr. Ross-Lee. “We want to influence current leadership to engage the gender resource that is being ignored.”

At age 13, Chelsee Greer, DO, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Many years later, she became a DO. Last year, she landed a prestigious oncology fellowship in Texas. The pediatric cancer patient has become a pediatric cancer physician.

Chelsee Greer, DO

Judith Guzman-Cottrill, DO, recently treated Oregon’s first child with tetanus in more than 30 years. The CDC published her case report last year.

“It cost over $800,000 to treat this one child with severe tetanus,” she told The DO. “To put that into perspective, one tetanus vaccine costs about $25. CDC guidelines recommend that children receive five doses of tetanus vaccine by age 6.”

Emily Temple-Wood, OMS IV, is leading a fight against systemic gender bias by creating Wikipedia articles about notable women scientists who haven’t yet been included in the largest encyclopedia in history.

“Every year more and more women scientists are doing amazing things and qualifying for a Wikipedia page,” she notes.

Emily Temple-Wood, OMS IV

Junella Chin, DO, has been helping patients integrate medical cannabis into their treatment plans for nearly 15 years, first in California and now in New York City. She also treats her patients, many of whom have epilepsy or cancer, with osteopathic manipulative medicine. Among the limited number of physicians performing medical cannabis evaluations, she’s one of the few who doesn’t solely focus on medical cannabis.

“I practice traditional, neuromuscular osteopathic medicine and adjust patients with my hands,” she says. “People don’t necessarily come to me for medical cannabis alone.”

Junella Chin, DO, advocates on behalf of Tanshin's Bill, New York Senate Bill S8191, which seeks to ensure that children with developmental disabilities are able to receive therapeutic medical marijuana at schools and mental health care facilities in the state.

Anne Hanley, DO, oversees a one-year clinical rotations program at a hospital in Fairbanks, Alaska. Teaching and learning medicine in the “Last Frontier” is both challenging and rewarding, she notes.

“It’s important to just keep an open mind and have an adventure both personally and clinically,” she says.

Aurora borealis as seen from Fairbanks, Alaska.

After learning about sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) in the most tragic way, Denise Wunderler, DO, and her husband Mike Savino, DO, are on a mission to educate others about the term. Dr. Wunderler and Dr. Savino lost their 2-year-old daughter, Vienna, in 2017. Her cause of death was eventually listed as SUDC, a term Dr. Wunderler and Dr. Savino were unfamiliar with at the time.

Denise Wunderler, DO, shown here with her late daughter, Vienna, hopes to raise awareness of SUDC among both physicians and parents.

After obtaining three postgraduate degrees, surgery resident Carisa Champion, DO, JD, MPH, remains a passionate advocate for osteopathic medicine and improving public health.

“A lot of answers to our health problems lie in the tenets of osteopathic medicine,” she says.

Related reading:

10 women in medicine who inspire: National Women Physicians Day 2019

Q&A: The DO who founded National Women Physicians Day


  1. Barbara Joy Jones DO

    I really enjoyed this article. Thank you. I will be celebrating National Women Physicians Day on February 3, 2020!!!

  2. Pingback: Holmdel Mom, Dr. Denise Wunderler featured in national magazine - TRENDSKEY.COM

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