William Stewart Halsted was a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, during the late 1800s and early 1900s. In 1894 Halsted described his procedure for treating breast cancer by removing the breast tissue, chest muscles, and lymph nodes in the armpit, a procedure he named radical mastectomy, and that became the standard of care for treating breast cancer until 1970. He also made contributions to other novel medical procedures such as gallbladder surgery, blood transfusions, antiseptic techniques, anesthesia use, and using plates and screws to hold bones in position when setting bone fractures. At Johns Hopkins Hospital, Halsted established a surgical training program in which he allowed medical students and surgical residents to shadow him and perform procedures under his guidance. In the twentieth century, similar training programs spread across the country and informed the standardization of medical training. Halsted devised a surgical treatment for breast cancer and reshaped the way physicians practiced medicine in the twentieth century, which resulted in better health outcomes through more careful surgical methods, especially in women with breast cancer.

Walter Edward Dandy studied abnormalities in the developing human brain in the United States in the twentieth century. He collaborated with pediatrician Kenneth Blackfan to provide the first clinical description of Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain malformation in which the medial part of the brain, called the cerebellar vermis, is absent. Dandy also described the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid, the clear, watery fluid that surrounds and cushions the brain and spinal cord. That description led Dandy to examine how the impeded flow of cerebral spinal fluid caused congenital hydrocephalus, which occurs when fluid accumulates in the brain causes it to swell. Dandy discovered brain anomalies that primarily develop during embryonic development, and his work helped to detect brain abnormalities.

Arthur Earl Walker was a medical researcher and physician who studied the brain and neurosurgery in the United States during the twentieth century. Walker examined the connections of the thalamus to the rest of the brain and how the thalamus coordinates sensory signals. The thalamus is a cluster of nerve cells located between the two hemispheres of the brain and it is responsible for consciousness and sensory interpretation. While studying the thalamus, Walker noticed that cerebral spinal fluid, the clear fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, sometimes became obstructed in certain parts of the brain in infants. Scientists linked the cerebral spinal fluid obstruction with a congenital brain malformation, later called Dandy-Walker Syndrome. Walker's work on the brain and cerebral spinal fluid enabled early diagnosis and treatment for complications in the development of the brain.

In 1894, William Stewart Halsted published The Results of Operations for the Cure of Cancer of the Breast Performed at the Johns Hopkins Hospital from June, 1889, to January, 1894, in the medical journal Annals of Surgery. In the article, Halsted describes the results from fifty of his operations on women with breast cancer, performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Those operations involved a surgical procedure Halsted called radical mastectomy, which consists in removing all of the patient’s breast tissue, chest muscle, and underarm lymph nodes. Halsted’s surgery effectively cured breast cancer in a time period when no other effective treatment options were available. The radical mastectomy remained the standard of care from the 1890s to the 1970s as a means of treating a type of reproductive cancer common to women.

In the late-twentieth century in the United States, Catherine DeAngelis was a pediatric physician, researcher, and editor of multiple medical journals. During her time with the Journal of the American Medical Association, DeAngelis became the journal’s first female editor. At Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, she studied how physician-nurse interactions affected patient care, how immunizations and adolescent pregnancy affected children, and how medications affected men and women differently. She also worked to reduce gender inequality in the practice of medicine by publishing articles that addressed the pay gap between men and women at Johns Hopkins. Throughout her career, DeAngelis advocated for equality between men and women in the medical field and supported equal treatment of women as patients and as practitioners of medicine. By doing so, she helped women become more central participants in medicine and therefore helped increase the focus on women's health in medicine.

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