| Physicians of Interest
history of Arizona's physicians is rich in mystery,
controversy, innovation and pride. Since the
settlers first inhabited the territory, physicians
have been a part of Arizona's legacy. They helped
shape the culture of this Great State and set
the standard for the quality of care delivered
to its citizens. The Physicians of Interest
page on this website highlights the historical
work of Arizona's physicians and the roles they
played while shaping the State's future. The
biography of a new physician will be added each
month and in time, the page will represent a
patchwork of the names and faces that brought
medicine in Arizona to life.
Rosa Goodrich Boirdo, M.D.
Dr. Rosa Goodrich Boirdo, at the age of 33, was Arizona's first licensed female physician. A native of Guatemala, Dr. Boirdo attended school at Cooper Medical College in San Francisco, CA and was one of its earliest graduates in 1895. (Cooper Medical College was adopted in 1908 as the Stanford University School of Medicine.) Following medical school, she moved to Tucson, Arizona and was licensed in 1903. Although not much is known about her medical practice, early Arizona Medical Board documents show that she was one of the first physicians disciplined in Arizona. Her license was cancelled in 1920 for unprofessional conduct and she left the state shortly thereafter.
Dr. Boirdo practiced in an era where few women sought professional careers in medicine. For example, Elizabeth Blackwell was the first American woman to graduate from medical school in 1849. Following her success, the first woman graduated from the Medical College of the Pacific (renamed Cooper Medical College in 1882) in 1877. A quote taken from an earlier Cooper Medical College graduate, Mary Bennett Ridder, M.D., sums up the thoughts of women physicians of her time. She wrote "... if my almost pioneer days as a woman physician form a background to the great advance of modern medicine; and if the pioneering of my life-comrade in his biological undertakings is a stimulus to others of his kind, I shall be content."