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Celebrating Women's History Month

Black and white picture of Helene Knabe, MD with white text across the top reading "Dr. Helene Knabe"
March is Women’s History Month, and IU School of Medicine is proud to celebrate the contributions of women both today and in the school’s history. Below are some highlights of the vital role women have played in the development and early history of IU School of Medicine.

Helene Knabe, MD, graduated from the Medical College of Indiana, a predecessor to IU School of Medicine, in 1904. Knabe went on to become the first female assistant pathologist for the Indiana State Laboratory of Hygiene, later serving first as deputy state health officer and then as assistant state bacteriologist. In this position, she championed a new treatment for rabies that was credited with reducing mortality rates in the state.
Lillian Mueller, MD, was a 1909 graduate of IU School of Medicine and went on to become the first female physician at Methodist Hospital, where she introduced the use of gas anesthesia. Mueller later became the first secretary of the section on anesthesia for the Indiana State Medical Association (1934) and served as head of anesthesiology for City Hospital (Indianapolis) from 1940-1955.

Amelia Keller, MD, associate professor of diseases of children, taught at IU School of Medicine from 1908 to 1919 and is credited as the first female faculty member at the school. She was one of the first female physicians practicing in Indianapolis (starting her practice in 1895) and was active in many Indianapolis-area women’s organizations.

Edith Schuman, MD, was the first female intern at IU School of Medicine, serving in this capacity from 1933-1935. Schuman went on to serve as chief medical officer for the Army Specialized Training Corps and helped develop the IU Student Health Center, where she served as one of its early physicians. IU Bloomington offers the Edith Schuman Award in her honor, given for academic excellence and significant contributions to the sports medicine program for women’s athletics.

Learn more about IU School of Medicine’s founding women and also visit the Women in Medicine blog to read the stories of women who are making an impact at IU School of Medicine.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

IU School of Medicine

With more than 60 academic departments and specialty divisions across nine campuses and strong clinical partnerships with Indiana’s most advanced hospitals and physician networks, Indiana University School of Medicine is continuously advancing its mission to prepare healers and transform health in Indiana and throughout the world.