She received the first medical degree granted to a women in the United States from Geneva College in NY in 1849). She started out as a teacher but for various reasons she set out to get a medical degree. One of those reasons was her dismay over the social inequities of the time.
She applied to numerous medical schools but was turned down by all until Geneva College accepted her "by accident." The professors had referred her application to the student and they, thinking it was a hoax, accepted her. This students did seem to give her a warm welcome but the others were not so pleased.
As she worked through her training she was not always well received by others, especially other doctors, whose actions were intended to thwart her progress. She did succeed, however, and through her giving a series of lectures on hygiene, she came in contact with women who had the influence to get her started.
In 1853 she opened a dispensary in a tenement district of New York City which later became the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in 1868. It closed in 1899. The Civil War halted her efforts to expand the Infirmary to include a medical college and a nursing school.
The Infirmary was run by Elizabeth's sister, Emily, after she retired to England in 1869.
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