National EMS Museum People Files, NEMSM-0003 [Please include Folder/Person’s Name]

Dr. Emily Dunning Barringer

Upon her graduation from Cornell University School of Medicine in 1897, Emily Dunning faced the traditional “male only” barrier of the medical profession. Though women had gained admission to medical colleges, none were allowed appointments to a hospital house staff. Encouraged by mentor Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi to take the competitive internship exams, Dr. Dunning lobbied the Medical Board and Trustees of Mount Sinai Hospital, which granted permission to sit for the examination with the understanding she would not be admitted no matter her standing. Dr. Dunning scored first place, and applied to several of the city hospitals with quarters capable of housing a woman. All refused her admission.

In 1902 Dr. Dunning became the first woman admitted to an internship program in New York, at Gouverneur Hospital on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 1903 she became the first woman Ambulance Surgeon.  

The story of Dr Dunning’s early life is the subject of an autobiography: “Bowery to Bellevue; the Story of New York’s First Woman Ambulance Surgeon”; a book by Iris Noble: “First Woman Ambulance Surgeon”; and the 1952 film “The Girl in White” starring June Allyson.

Submitted to NEMSM March 2008 by Mark Peck, EMT-P

National EMS Museum Resources

National EMS Museum Archives

A Girl In White – [National EMS Museum Film Collection]

National EMS Museum Library

The First Woman Ambulance Surgeon by Iris Nobel

From Bowery to Bellevue, by Dr. Emily Dunning

Additional Resources

No additional resources identified at this time. Please check back for more research into Dr. Dunning’s and the Drs. Barringer’s career.