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Celebrating Women's History

(Alumni Profiles)


First Females to Graduate from Albany Medical College

Lucy Elizabeth Bourn, MD and Ruth Gilbert, MD

Class of 1923

The first females to graduate from Albany Medical College were Drs. Lucy Elizabeth Bourn and Ruth Gilbert, both graduating from Albany Medical College in 1923. Following graduation, Dr. Bourn traveled to Peking (Beijing), China to work at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital. She returned to the United States after several years and worked as a pediatrician in Providence, RI.

Dr. Ruth Gilbert, perhaps the better known graduate, was born in Warren, Connecticut in 1883. She graduated from Colorado College in 1907 and received her master's degree in 1910 from the same college. During and after receiving her medical degree, Dr. Gilbert was in charge of the Diagnostic Laboratories of the Division of Laboratories and Research, New York State Department of Health, from 1921-1949. She started there as a Bacteriologist and from 1932 served as Assistant Director-in-Charge. Prior to that, she served on the staff at the original Yates Street Laboratory starting in 1914, which evolved to become the Wadsworth Center (New York State Department of Health). In addition to her membership in many scientific societies she was also the author of numerous scientific publications. Among her many accomplishments, she was also highly involved in the standardization of the complement fixation test for syphilis, in addition to serving as Chairman of the Laboratory Section of the American Public Health Association in 1934.


Jean A. Thompson, MD

Class of 1924

Dr. Jean A. Thompson, a native of Cohoes, NY spent her medical career dedicated to Child Psychiatry and became a nationally recognized expert on the subject. Her interest in the medical profession came from her father's (John Archibold, MD, Class of 1888) role as a general practitioner and Health Officer in Cohoes. She attended Smith College before entering Albany Medical College and spent time as a resident psychiatrist at Albany Hospital and the Pennsylvania Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases in Philadelphia. She spent several years working in Boston, Chicago and New York after receiving a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in Child Psychiatry. This work led to her appointment by the New York City Board of Education as Director of the Bureau of Child Guidance. She was also involved with numerous professional organizations, such as the American Psychiatric Association and the Mental Hygiene Section of the NY Society for the Experimental Study of Education. 


Jean Keiser Stevenson, MD

Class of 1944

Jean Keiser received her undergraduate degree from Vassar College and her medical degree in 1944 from Albany Medical College. While attending Albany Medical College, Jean met Edward Stevenson, whom she married in 1945. During World War II, Jean was a rotating intern at Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn followed by residency in pediatrics at the same hospital. Following her residency she became a resident in pediatric pathology at Albany Hospital as well as earning a postgraduate degree in adolescent medical care at Harvard Medical School. From 1949 to 1957 Dr. Stevenson practiced pediatrics in Putnam, CT. In addition to her medical practice duties, she also served as attending physician at the Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam and the Thompson Well-Baby Conference and as health officer of the Town of Thompson, CT. In 1963, Dr. Stevenson was named Vassar College Physician and Chairman of the Department of Health. Dr. Stevenson retired from medical practice in 1980.


Virginia L. Oliver, MD

Class of 1948

Dr. Virginia Loucks Oliver graduated from Albany Medical College in 1948. Prior to attending medical school, Virginia graduated from Gloversville High School and received a bachelor's degree from New York State Teachers College at Albany. She went on to teach high school math and science before leaving the teaching profession to pursue a career in medicine. She attended Cornell and Columbia Universities for pre-medical classes in addition to performing clinical laboratory work. During medical school, Virginia married Dr. Ward L. Oliver, Albany Medical College Alum, Class of 1928. Following the receipt of her medical degree, Dr. Oliver completed an internship at Ellis Hospital and then entered practice with her husband in Cobleskill, NY. The two Drs Oliver practiced medicine together until their retirement in 1992. Additionally, Dr. Virginia Oliver also served as Sullivan County President of the Medical Society of the State of New York, Director of Physical Medicine at Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville and was appointed by Governor Hugh L. Carey to the board of visitors of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center. In 1964 she co-authored with Dr. Robert M. Albrecht and Dr. David C. Poskanzer, an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association titled, "Epidemic Neuromyasthenia - Outbreak in a Convent in New York State."


Consuelo Perez Perez, MD

Class of 1951

Consuelo Perez Perez was born on October 4, 1925 in Puerto Rico. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico in 1947 and traveled to New York to study medicine. While in New York she studied at Albany Medical College and graduated with the class of 1951. She then returned to Puerto Rico for her internship and residency at Bayamon District Hospital in Bayamon, P.R. After finishing her residency, she then practiced obstetrics and gynecology. Like many Albany Medical College graduates, Dr. Perez Perez had interests and talents outside of medicine. Consuelo was an accomplished athlete in addition to physician and is listed in the Sports Hall of Fame of Rio Piedras for volleyball and basketball. She began playing sports in middle school and competed through high school, standing out as an excellent student and athlete. Additionally, she was a member of the national team of Puerto Rico at the Central American and Caribbean Games in 1946 in Barranquilla, Colombia, where she won a silver medal with the women's Puerto Rican volleyball team. Consuela Perez Perez lived a long and accomplished life, passing away at the age of 76 in 2001. 

Ann Als, MD, Class of 1970 - First African American Female Graduate
Ann Als, MD, Class of 1970 - First African American Female Graduate




 For additional biographies click HERE



In 1962 the Knickerbocker News highlighted the number of women entering Albany Medical College in the Class of 1966. 

Photo: (L-R; Mary V. Lyons, Maureen Sze, Kathryn Thomas, Betty Rohloff, Jane Palombi, Christine Wurstlin, Susann Steinberg)




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