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Women in Neurosurgery

Louise Eisenhardt, MD

As a right hand to Harvey Cushing, MD, Louise Eisenhardt, MD was the first neuropathologist and kept records on all of his surgical pathology specimens. She was a Charter Member of the Harvey Cushing Society which she served as President, long-term Secretary-Treasurer, and Historian. She also was the first (and only so far) female president of the Cushing Society which is now known as the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, (AANS). The Congress of Neurosurgeons (CNS) was at one time considered a “rebel” offshoot of the Cushing society but now is another well respected professional organization where Louise Eisenhardt, MD gave lectures and continuing education courses on neuropathology. She was also the first editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery, leaving that role only as she retired from professional life.

“As the first editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery, Louise Eisenhardt, acting with the advice of the editorial board, was responsible for making decisions on the acceptance or rejection of submitted manuscripts. Her log, covering the first 14 years of editorial decisions, is a record of Neurosurgical progress and of the forces — scientific, technical and other — that shaped the field of neurosurgery. Any peer-review process is subject to pitfalls that become evident in retrospect, but an effective peer-review process is one of the basic ingredients of scientific progress. The decisions to accept or reject manuscripts submitted to the Journal of Neurosurgery during Eisenhardt’s tenure are highlighted in the historical vignette presented in an issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery.” (J Neurosurg 1997 Dec;87(6):972-6.)

Louise Eisenhardt, M.D., associate of Harvey Cushing, scholar, investigator, editor, teacher, and curator of the Brain Tumor Registry at Yale. She achieved many “firsts” for women in medicine. A figure in the Homeric tradition of observing accurately and reporting honestly, Dr. Eisenhardt set high standards for both colleagues and students as well as for aspiring medical authors. She left a tradition worthy of emulation.

Additional historical articles about Louise Eisenhardt, MD:

Louise Eisenhardt, M.D.: first editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery (1944-1965).
J Neurosurg. 1994 Feb;80(2):342-6.

Historical vignette. The neurosurgeon’s neurosurgeon: Cushing operates on a Penfield. Surg Neurol. 1990 Feb;33(2):150-3.

Pitfalls and successes of peer review in neurosurgery.
J Neurosurg. 1997 Dec;87(6):972-6.

Retirement of Mrs. Jean Lawe, managing editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery.
J Neurosurg. 1994 Jun;80(6):1121-3.

History of the Journal of Neurosurgery, 1965-1980.
J Neurosurg. 1994 May;80(5):939-40.

Louise Eisenhardt. 1891-1967.
Surg Neurol. 1977 Oct;8(4):227-8.

Dr. Louise Eisenhardt.
J Neurosurg. 1967 Mar;26(3):285-8.

Louise Eisenhardt 1891-1967.
Trans Am Neurol Assoc. 1967;92:311-3.

Frances K. Conley, MD

Who hasn't heard of Frances Conley, MD? Having been a pioneering force in the recognition of the problems women pursuing medical careers face.

Ann Marie Flannery, MD

Rarely in life do you meet a person whose hard work, determination, ambition and willingness to help others profoundly affects your life

Ruth Kerr Jakoby, MD

Dr. Ruth Kerr Jakoby was born in Palo Alto, California. She attended Barnard College of Columbia University, receiving her B.A. in 1949.

Joan Venes, MD

Dr. Joan Venes attended Downstate Medical Center of the State University of New York, graduating in 1966.