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Chiropractic History Is Women's History

In honor of Women's History Month, we would like to take some time to honor the significant contributions of women to chiropractic medicine from its inception to today.

Minora Paxson - In 1900, Minora earned her degree in chiropractic from Palmer’s Chiropractic School and Cure3, becoming the world’s first female chiropractor. Following her graduation, she worked as an educator at Palmer Chiropractic School in Santa Barbara. She also co-founded the American School of Chiropractic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and co-authored the first chiropractic textbook, Modernized Chiropractic, published in 1906. Dr. Paxson was a pioneer in chiropractic—inspiring many women to follow in her footsteps.

Dr. Mabel Heath Palmer- As both a chiropractor and a formally trained anatomist, Dr. Mabel went on to author Anatomy in 1918, the first ever anatomical textbook for chiropractic students. From there, Dr. Mabel became an icon at Palmer College, leading the school's anatomical instruction for forty years and founding the world's first chiropractic sorority, Sigma Phi Chi. Today, the Palmer Women's Institute honors Dr. Mabel's ceiling-shattering legacy by celebrating and promoting women and woman-driven initiatives in chiropractic.

Sylva Ashworth – Sylvia quickly began to bridge ideological divides in the chiropractic community and helped bring together conservative older practices with newfound sciences in studies. Dr. Ashworth is the only woman ever to serve as president of a national chiropractic professional association in the United States: the Universal Chiropractors’ Association in 1926.

Dr. Gertrude Dunsworth - was one of the first female chiropractors in the United States, earning her degree in chiropractic in 1924. She was the only woman in her graduating class of 60 at Minnesota's Midwest College of Chiropractic.

Fun fact: the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners’ Practice Analysis of Chiropractic 2020 found that the percent of women chiropractors in the segment of chiropractors under 30 is 53.2%. This far surpasses historical numbers in what was once a dominantly male profession.


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