The 1910 Flexner report is recognized as a critical component of the transition to the current model of medical education. Within a decade of the report's publication, the curriculum of nearly every American medical school included 2 years of basic science education and 2 years of clinical apprenticeship. By midcentury, the practice of medicine focused on acute care visits and technologically sophisticated procedures performed in hospitals. As we mark the 100th anniversary of the Flexner report, it is also important to draw attention to one of the unintended consequences of Flexner-era reforms, namely, the near elimination of women in the physician workforce between 1910 and 1970. In this essay we briefly trace the history of women in medicine in the decades surrounding the Flexner report and suggest some implications for the future of pediatrics at a time when women outnumber men.

In the late 19th century, there were hundreds of...

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