University of Melbourne Medical students, graduands of 1945 including Alice Elizabeth Wilmot (1912–1998) and Charlotte Anderson (1915–2002)
The photograph was taken at the side of Pathology building. Women graduates, left to right: Jenny Pascheove, Mancell Gwenneth Pinner, Joan Mowlam, Nancy Brown, Joan Amelia Walker, Iris Alice Leber, Alice Elizabeth Wilmot, Dorothy Beatrice Hurley, Shirley Evelyn Amy Lorraine Francis, Mary Bennett, Charlotte Morrison Anderson.
Alice Elizabeth (Betty) Wilmot MBBS 1945 (1912–1998)
demonstrated early on that she was dedicated to improving the lives of those around her.Her training began with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne.Upon completion, she became a dietician at the Victorian Railways (1934–1938). She drove several public health initiatives to improve the diets of Victorian travellers. These would not be out of place today, given the challenge of obesity, but such innovation must be measured against the world of 80 years ago. Introducing fresh-fruit juices at railway milk bars and designing menus that included ‘new’ foods such as salad opened the eyes of many to a healthy diet.In 1939, Betty joined the Commonwealth Department of Health. While working on maternal and child nutrition she met the notable Dr Vera Scantlebury Brown, who inspired her to obtain a medical degree to further her work. Gaining an MBBS in 1945, Betty became a resident medical officer at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne and the Children’s Hospital, Perth. She remained fiercely dedicated to her work in maternal and child health and was particularly passionate about the health of migrants and of citizens of neighbouring countries. In 1948, she travelled to England to gain her Diploma of Child Health, returning in 1950 to become assistant director of maternal, infant and preschool welfare at the Department of Health in Victoria. She became director in 1960, the position Dr Scantlebury Brown established and then held until her death, in 1946.Betty was extremely hard working and frequently held multiple positions. As assistant director, she was appointed the World Health Organisation’s regional director of maternal and child health in the Western Pacific (1953–1955), her office based primarily in the Philippines. As director, she was appointed assistant chief health officer from 1967 to 1977, making her the first woman to reach this level of seniority in the Victorian Department of Health.In recognition of her work, she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1978.
Charlotte Anderson (1915–2002)
The preface to the third edition of the textbook Paediatric Gastroenterology states that ‘Charlotte Anderson is one of the great pioneers who nurtured the fledging specialty in the 1950s and 1960s’.
Although not permitted by her father to enrol in medicine, she won an A.M. White Scholarship to Janet Clarke Hall at the University of Melbourne to study science. She undertook a Masters while doing research at
the Baker Institute before enrolling in medicine at the Melbourne Medical School in 1941.She embarked on a career in clinical research when she was offered a staff position at the Children’s Hospital in the newly formed Clinical Research Unit, under the directorship of Howard Williams. Her work focused on the key disorders of children with chronic chest disease and diarrhoea. Her work has resulted in major advances in understanding the underlying pathogenesis and treatment of cystic fibrosis and coeliac disease, including the link between gluten and coeliac disease. Dr Anderson established the Gastroenterology Research Unit at the Royal Children’s Hospital and was later offered the
Chair of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Birmingham, making her the first female professor of paediatrics in Australia or the United Kingdom. Her colleague Dr Nate Myers described her as ‘a humane doctor, who put research first and patients equal first’. In her Teale Lecture to the Royal College of Physicians in London, given soon after her retirement, Charlotte Anderson described her career as a series of ‘lucky coincidences and chances’. Doubtless, this does not reflect the battles she had as a woman scientist working in a clinical setting and with the development of a newm subspecialty in a new field of medicine.Charlotte Anderson is internationally recognised by her peers as a pioneer in paediatric gastroenterology and as ‘the person who got paediatric research up and running in Australia’. Her legacy has continued at the Royal Children’s Hospital and the University of Melbourne, and generations of patients have benefitted from her contribution to paediatric gastroenterology and child health.
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inscriptions ▫ legend identifies subjects by row and those who are absent ▫ 0 - Whole