History of Medicine in Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)

Utah Territorial Medicine (1850-1896)

During the first twenty to thirty years after the pioneers settled the Salt Lake Valley, the only healers were "Thomsonian" doctors who acquired their knowledge and "license" by paying $20.00 to a "Dr. Thomson" for a book on herbal medicine and the right to dispense his herbs. Others followed the maxim of "puke 'em, sweat 'em, purge 'em." No wonder Brigham Young advised the Saints to heal each other by the "laying on of hands."

Rising maternal and child death rates prompted Brigham Young to encourage some women living in polygamy who had already borne children to study medicine at the Woman's Medical College in Philadelphia; but there was no provision for their financial support. When these women returned home in the summer to earn money to support themselves during the school year, many became pregnant again, which added to their financial and emotional woes. Ellis Shipp began medical school in 1872 and took advanced training in obstetrics and gynecology. The "grand old lady of Utah medicine" is credited with founding a school of midwifery, and she delivered thousands of babies and published widely in the areas of hygiene and public health. Another woman, Dr. Romania Pratt, took special training in ophthalmology and performed the first cataract operation in the territory.

However, the early prominence of women in Utah medicine lasted for only one generation. A significant increase of female students and physicians did not begin until the 1970s and 1980s, but with only 17 percent female medical students in the early 1990s, Utah remains below the national average of thirty-five percent.

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