Emergency medicine trailblazer Dr. Ethel Weinberg dies at 83

Ethel Schwartz Weinberg, MD, the physician who helped created the specialty of emergency medicine, died March 4 of melanoma at age 83, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Dr. Weinberg was an anesthesiologist, leader in academic medical education and advocate for women in medicine. Seeking to create part-time pathways for physician mothers to continue their training in medicine, Dr. Weinberg championed the idea of creating an "acute care medicine" fellowship in emergency rooms, ultimately securing approval from the American Medical Association for the first internship.

She held a variety of leadership roles in academic medicine over the course of her career, including dean of Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, senior associate dean at Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia and dean of Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass. She was appointed to the National Library of Medicine's Board of Regents by President Richard Nixon in 1974 and founded the Alliance of Independent Medical Centers in 1989. She earned her medical degree at the former Hahnemann Medical College and completed her residency in anesthesiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, both in Philadelphia.

Based on an interview with the U.S. National Library of Medicine, here are three quotes on leadership and being a woman in medicine from Dr. Weinberg:

On mentorship: "As I think about [who my mentors were], I note that all of the examples that come to mind are men. I would like to think that I have been a mentor also."

On obstacles: "In some ways it was the fact of being a woman. For example, I knew of no women surgeons when I was making a decision about a specialty. I knew there were some, but I also knew that it would be extremely difficult to find a good residency that would accept me, and I was already married and not very mobile. … I should add that being a woman also opened some interesting doors for me."

On creating opportunities for women: "I was struck that women needed some form of training that did not require the traditional working hours of a resident and where there were part-time jobs available. It seemed that 'acute care medicine' in emergency rooms (they were just beginning to hire physicians for coverage) was a feasible idea." 

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