Helen Brooke Taussig

Helen Brooke Taussig

June 11th – Helen Brooke Taussig was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 24, 1898 to Frank W. Taussig and Edith Thomas Guild, who had three other children. Her father was an economist at Harvard University, and her mother was one of the first students at Radcliffe College, a women’s college. When Taussig was 11 years old, her mother succumbed to tuberculosis; Helen also contracted the disease¬†and was ill for several years, severely affecting her ability to do schoolwork. She also struggled with severe dyslexia through her early school years. She graduated from Cambridge School for Girls in 1917,[citation needed] then studied for two years at Radcliffe before earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1921. She spent summers as a child in Cotuit, Massachusetts, and later in life had a home there. Taussig later studied histology, bacteriology, and anatomy at both Harvard Medical School and Boston University, though neither school allowed her to earn a degree. She was particularly discriminated against in her histology class, where she was barred from speaking to her male classmates for fear of “contamination.” As an anatomy student at Boston University in 1925, she published her first scientific paper on studies of ox heart muscles with Alexander Begg. She applied to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and was accepted as a full-degree candidate. She completed her MD degree in 1927 at Johns Hopkins, where she then remained for one year as a cardiology fellow and for two years as a pediatrics intern. While at Hopkins, she received two Archibald Fellowships, spanning 1927-1930. Dr. Taussig became deaf in the later part of her career. She learned to use lip-reading techniques and hearing aids to speak with her patients, and her fingers rather than a stethoscope to feel the rhythm of their heartbeats and to lip read.¬†#365DaysOfMicroscopy

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