13:23 PM

Celebrating Women's History Month

March is Women’s History Month. While the country commemorates the role of women in American History, at Cook Children’s Health Care System, we celebrate the role of women in building one of the largest free-standing pediatric health centers in the country.  After all, it was the vision and generosity of two women that started it all. 

One, a former postmistress with few financial resources, Mrs. Ida L. Turner, who dreamed of a place where fragile babies would be cared for regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Her vision and hard work led to the opening of the Fort Worth Free Baby Hospital in 1918. 

The other, a wealthy heiress who wanted to honor her late husband by helping sick children. In 1929, Mrs. Missouri Matilda Nail Cook dedicated the oil royalties from the Cook Ranch to build the W.I. Cook Memorial Hospital. 

Eventually, the two children’s hospitals became one and grew to be one of the finest pediatric medical institutions in the country with more than 1.5 million patient encounters every year. Throughout our 105-year history, the women of Cook Children’s have championed children; nurtured the sick and hurting; led innovation in science, medicine and technology; and steered the business of health care with imagination, safety, generosity, kindness, respect and collaboration. While these women number in the thousands over the course of Cook Children’s history, this year, we’re highlighting a few who have made their mark in medicine. Each comes from different backgrounds, different specialties and different decades, but they all share two things — a passion for their work and the Promise to improve the well-being of every child in our care and our communities. 

VIDEO: We went around and asked our Cook Children's employees to tell us about a Woman Who Inspires Them, and here's what they said. 

Want to share your story or highlight a woman at Cook Children's? Email us at InternalCommunications@cookchildrens.org with an overview of what you want to share for Women's History Month. 

Dr Candace Gamble Highlight

Meet Dr. Candace Gamble, a geneticist and skeletal dysplasia investigator. She looks to her career as her calling, relying on her faith and the team she leads, keeps her well-rounded and focused on her divine purpose to serve others. 

Carla Smith Highlight

Dr. Carla Smith, D.O. is a trailblazer and inspiration to many at Cook Children's. She's always wanted to be a doctor and pediatrician, and loves working with children and their love for health and wellness.  

Lisa Elliott Highlight

Dr. Lisa Elliott completely changed her path when she transitioned from human resources to psychology. Opening the first outpatient behavioral health clinic, for 22 years Dr. Elliott leads a fellowship program that trains and mentors aspiring neuropsychologists.

Shanna Combs Highlight

Dr. Shanna Combs, our first pediatric and adolescent gynecologist (PAG) in the history of Cook Children's never saw herself as an OB/GYN, now Dr. Combs describes how she landed in the world of PAG.  

Elizabeth Leeper Highlight

Elizabeth Leeper, Manager of Surgical Excellence, opens up about her journey with Cook Children's and what inspires her to continue to aim for success. Get to know Elizaeth Leeper. 

Here's a list of fun facts and recognitions to celebrate women pioneers.

Last updated: March 3, 2023

DateRecognized WomanHistorical Contribution
1849Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D.First woman in the United States to be granted an MD degree.
1864Rebecca Lee Crumpler, M.D. First African American woman to earn an M.D.“I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to relieve the suffering of others,” - Dr. Crumpler
1864Mary Putnam Jacobi, M.D.The first woman to study at l’École de Médecine in Paris with her most outstanding contribution was debunking myths about menstruation.
1866Ann Preston, M.D.The first woman dean of a U.S. medical school
1889Susan LaFlesche Picotte, M.D. First Native American woman in the United States to earn a medical degree.
1947Gerty Theresa Cori, PhDFirst U.S. woman to win a Nobel Prize in science.
1953Virginia Apgar, M.D.Created the first tool to scientifically assess a neonate’s health risks and need for potentially life-saving observation.
1977Judy HeumannTrailblazing disability rights activist with contributions to the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act into law in 1990.
1979Patricia Goldman-Rakic, PhDAlzheimer’s disease, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia — scientists’ understanding of these conditions and many more are founded on the groundbreaking research of Patricia Goldman-Rakic.
1990Antonia Novello, M.D.First woman and Hispanic to serve as U.S. surgeon general. 
1993Joycelyn Elders, M.D.First African American and second woman to serve as U.S. surgeon general. 
Comments 1 - 2 (2)
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Awesome facts!
Dr. Indran Liu
i want to highlight Dr. Indran Liu, one of the providers here at our McCart NHC, for always going over and beyond with our patients! She is so heartwarming and very understanding with all patients no matter the circumstances. I feel she holds a special place in her heart for each and every patient she sees and truly is shown in her work. Dr. Liu, even though you are a new provider and new to this area, came from California, i feel that she has truly adapted well into Texas and the Cook Children Family!!!