Oct. 14, 2003 – Delegate Donna M. Christensen is one of several female physicians being honored by the National Institutes of Health in an exhibition titled "Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating Americas Women Physicians."
Christensen is being honored as the only female physician serving in Congress and for her leadership in minority health issues as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust,
"It's a singular honor to be included in the company of so many distinguished women in medicine," Christensen said at the opening of the exhibition on Tuesday in the National Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institutes of Health. "Their outstanding and varied accomplishments and contributions are truly inspiring — and also, for me, humbling," she said.
MacNeil Lehrer Productions recorded an interview with Christensen last spring for the exhibition, which includes a companion interactive DVD. There are plans to launch an online version of the project and to produce various public programs as a means of motivating young people from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in medicine.
"Looking back took me from my original plan to practice adolescent medicine to actually having a busy family practice made up mostly of seniors on the island of St. Croix, to public health, and now to the Congress of the United States," she said. "I can truly bear witness to how the face of medicine has changed, and continues to change."
George Washington University School of Medicine, where she studied, has gone from having fewer then 5 percent female students to a student body today that is more than half women, she observed.
Christensen credited many family members, friends and mentors for having made her career in medicine possible. She paid special tribute to nurses at the emergency room in Frederiksted, saying they "took a relatively green resident and made a doctor out of me," and her patients "who continuously fine-tuned" her skills.
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