Women in medicine: Anna Dominiczak and Marion Gilchrist

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The Women in medicine project showcases a number of today’s leading female clinicians and the women from the history of medicine who have inspired them.

Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak is Regius professor of medicine at the University of Glasgow (the first woman to hold the post), and vice principal and head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences. 

Graduating from medical school in Gdańsk, Poland, Professor Dominiczak continued her medical training in Scotland. Her research interests are hypertension, cardiovascular genomics and precision medicine. Having led major research programmes and with over 400 publications in peer-reviewed journals, she is among the world’s foremost cardiovascular scientists and clinical academics.

Professor Dominiczak is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the European Society of Cardiology, and a member of numerous professional bodies. She is past president of the European Society of Hypertension, and previous editor in chief of Clinical Science. She is editor in chief of Hypertension.  

Awarded an OBE in 2005, Professor Dominiczak was appointed DBE in 2016.

The University of Glasgow’s first female graduate, Marion Gilchrist opened the eyes of many women to the opportunities a changing world could offer them. Working in general practice and eye surgery, she would have saved the sight of many Glaswegians. In her fight for female emancipation, she offered a vision for a better, more equal future for all women.

Anna Dominiczak on her inspiration Marion Gilchrist

Dr Marion Gilchrist (1864–1952) was the first woman to gain a medical degree in Scotland and the first female graduate of the University of Glasgow. She was vice president of the Queen Margaret College Student Union and vice president of the literary and debating society.

Marion Gilchrist originally studied the arts at Queen Margaret College, Glasgow, attaining an LLA (Lady Literate in Arts) in 1890. The same year, she enrolled at the college’s new medical school, one of only nine women in the first admission. In 1894 Marion Gilchrist and Alice Lilian Louisa Cumming became the University of Glasgow and Scotland’s first female medical graduates.

Taking up general practice in the city’s West End, Dr Gilchrist specialised in eye diseases. From 1914, she was assistant surgeon for diseases of the eye at the Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. In 1927, she became an ophthalmic surgeon at Redlands Hospital for Women. She was also active in the voluntary sector, serving as physician to Queen Margaret College Settlement’s invalid children’s school.

Dr Gilchrist was a forceful advocate of women’s rights. Initially a member of the West of Scotland Association for Women’s Suffrage, she later joined the more radical Women’s Social and Political Union and the Women’s Freedom League. She was a prominent member of the British Medical Association, the first woman to chair its Glasgow division.

The Marion Gilchrist Prize, named in her honour, continues to be awarded each year to the most distinguished female graduate in medicine from the University of Glasgow.