Facts about Women's History at
Wake Forest Baptist
Our first female CEO, vascular surgeon Julie Freischlag, MD, joined Wake Forest Baptist Medical
Center in April 2017 from University of California Davis, where she was Vice
Chancellor for Human Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. She
was also the first woman surgery chair and surgeon-in-chief at Johns Hopkins.
Linda J. Porrino, PhD, joined our Wake Forest School of
Medicine faculty in 1990 and became a professor of Physiology and Pharmacology
in 1997. In 2009, she became the first female basic science department chair.
Bowman, MD, MPH, became the first woman to chair a department, leading
the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She later founded the same
department at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center.
What is now
known as the Progressive Care Building was once the Blanche Barrus Nurses' Home named in honor of Blanche Barrus, who worked on obtaining her medical
degree in order to become a medical missionary, but died before completing her
Dr. Lucille Hutaff joined the faculty at the Bowman Gray
School of Medicine in 1945 as Instructor in Medicine, and was the first woman to hold the rank of full professor at Bowman Gray.
Dr. Jean Bailey Brooks was the only female in the
Bowman Gray School of Medicine medical class of 1944, and later became the
first female president of Bowman Gray’s Medical Alumni Association.
Dr. Katherine Anderson joined Bowman Gray School of Medicine (now Wake Forest
School of Medicine) as Associate Professor of Pediatrics in 1968. She later
took on the supervision and developmental planning of the new Physician’s
Assistant Program and remained director of the program from 1969 until her retirement in
The first laboratory technician at North Carolina Baptist Hospital was
Miss Gladys Roberts of Jackson, Mississippi, who later served as Housemother to
the Hospital’s first class of nursing students in the mid-1920s.
In September 1923, the first nursing students at North Carolina Baptist
Hospital, all female, wore uniforms that were “a nice shade of blue with
white gored aprons, long sleeves, stiff cuffs buttoned on, and a stiff ‘Buster
Miss Edna L. Heinzerling, RN, was elected the first director of nurses for North Carolina Baptist Hospital at the first North Carolina
Baptist Hospital Commission Meeting held at the Robert E. Lee Hotel on April
Before the first patient was admitted, the first North Carolina Baptist
Hospital Auxillary, which was composed of women
representing each Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, cut and sewed all operating
room and obstetrical linens, bed gowns, ward curtains and net sash curtains for
every bedroom in the Hospital.
In May 1923, the first patient at
North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Mrs. Spease, was admitted to the
Hospital by Miss Olivia Hall, the first accountantin the Admissions Office.