Importance of National Women Physicians Day and Valuing Women in Neurology: Jan Brandes, MD, MS


The assistant clinical professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine shared what National Women Physicians Day means to her, and the history behind its celebration. [WATCH TIME: 6 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 6 minutes

"She [Elizabeth Blackwell] was this person who made me say, ‘This is what I want to do. This is what I want to be.’ And just because I’m a girl or a woman, I shouldn’t not be able to do it. I think that’s such an important message for anyone. That message extends certain in terms of women and girls, but also in terms of what I would call personhood. It doesn’t matter whether you look like what most of the people do that you want to do; you should decide what you want to do."

February 3, 2022, marks the fourth anniversary of National Women Physicians Day, a day dedicated to honoring the thousands of women doctors across the world, and the impact they have as a part of the medical community. Historically, the event falls on this day as a remembrance of the birthday of Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US, who helped pave the way for generations of doctors to follow.

Jan Brandes, MD, MS, assistant clinical professor, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, looked up to Blackwell, and said that her story was important to her as a little girl growing up with aspirations of being a physician. Brandes has had over 20 years of experience as a migraine expert, currently serving on the National Headache Foundation’s Board, and the director and founder of the Nashville Neuroscience group, which became part of Saint Thomas Health Services in 2009.

On this National Women Physician Day, Brandes shared her experiences growing up, including the impact Blackwell had on her, and why she fell in love with neurology. She also discussed the importance of the day, the need to continue conversations about the inclusion of women, and a specific story that influenced her to become what she is today.

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