Merylee Elizabeth Werthan, M.D. received an A.B. with Honors from Vassar College. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and studied for two years at the Goethe University in Frankfurt/main, Germany, obtaining a Diplom Volkswirt in Economics. She considered the Foreign Service, but returned to enter Temple University Medical School in Philadelphia. Following a rotating internship, she spent a year of general surgery residency at Temple and a year of neurology residency at Philadelphia General Hospital. She then completed neurosurgery training at Temple where her mentors were the late Dr. Michael Scott, Chairman, and Drs. Henry Wycis, Frederick Murtagh, and Paul Lin. She remains affiliated with Temple as clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery.
In 1968, Dr. Werthan began private practice and, since then, has continued to be part of a two- or three-person neurosurgical group. For a few years, this group consisted of three women neurosurgeons and probably was the only such group in the country.
Dr. Werthan practices general neurosurgery in northeast Philadelphia at four community hospitals, being chief now at three. One of these hospitals is a Level II trauma center, where she is responsible for the neurotrauma. Her husband, Dr. Charles Jost, has supported her efforts. Dr. Werthan was Board certified in 1972, becoming the second woman Diplomate of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons. She became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1975. She is currently in private practice in Philadelphia with Dr. Carol A. Ludolph.
Dr. Werthan states that as a freshman at Temple University Medical School, she was fascinated by neuroanatomy and envisioned neurosurgery as an endeavor in which one could work with one’s head, heart, and hands. Today, she still considers this true.