Christian women who impacted the history of healthcare

*Editor’s note: This information was published in the March 2021 issue of Heartfelt Magazine, CHM’s monthly magazine that provides CHM membership-related tips and tricks, medical advice from doctors, testimonies from CHM members, and more. Please refer to the CHM Guidelines and applicable web pages for the most up-to-date information regarding CHM membership, sharing eligibility, and ministry news.*


To celebrate Women’s History Month, we’re featuring three incredible Christian women who used their healthcare skills to serve others:

Clara Barton (1821-1912) was a nurse during the American Civil War and the founder of the Red Cross. As a child, she helped nurse her brother to health after his serious head injury. When the Civil War broke out, she went to the railroad station when wounded soldiers arrived, where she cared for them. In 1864, she was appointed the “lady in charge” of the hospitals for the Army of the James. She was known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” At the age of 59, she founded the Red Cross and led it until she was 83.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895) was the U.S.’s first African-American woman to become a doctor. She studied at the New England Female Medical College, where she was the only African-American student. She moved back to Boston and focused on treating women and children. Many of her services were for freed slaves denied treatment by white doctors. When the Civil War ended, she moved to Richmond, Virginia, considering it an ideal place to provide a missionary service. She treated patients without regard for their ability to pay.

Dr. Ida Sophia Scudder (1870-1960) was born in India to a missionary family and attended school in the United States. One night, she witnessed three Indian women die because there were no female doctors to help them. She attended medical school in the U.S. She earned her medical degree and returned to India, treating 5,000 patients in two years. She knew she couldn’t treat all of India by herself and founded the Vellore Christian Medical Center. As of 2003, this hospital was the largest Christian hospital in the world, and its medical school is one of the premier medical colleges in India.

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