Helen Taussig – a pioneer in medicine

Helen Taussig dreamt of becoming a doctor. But this was the 1920s, and most universities wouldn’t accept a woman into medical school. So Helen enrolled in a public health program graduate program. Yet there too, she was told that as a woman, she wouldn’t receive a degree.

“It was one of those times in life when what seemed to be disappointment…later proved to be a great opportunity,” Helen would say.

After such setbacks and dealing with much rejection, Johns Hopkins accepted Helen into medical school. She graduated in 1927, and in 1930, became head of the Children’s Heart Clinic there.

Helen became a pioneer in her field, conducting extensive research in multiple areas. She took part in numerous discoveries, including developing a “blue baby syndrome” treatment with Alfred Blalock and Vivien Thomas, which would save many children. And though by early in her career, Helen had lost much of her hearing, she worked with patients using lip-reading and hearing aids, and as Helen would say, “Learn to listen with your fingers.” 

Helen went on to earn more than twenty honorary degrees and many awards. She continued to conduct research even after retiring from the university in 1963.

“Helen Taussig – a pioneer in medicine” sources: https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_316.html / https://www.wimlf.org/blog/helen-b-taussig-md / https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_B._Taussig