The Women Who Made Us

Posted by Katie Ray on


We often get asked how we name earrings, and sometimes there's a good story to the names and other times, not so much.  Since October is the month we celebrate The Surmeno Connection we decided to name our newest designs after significant women in healthcare. Here are the women and the jewelry we've named after them:

Clara Barton, nurse/educator (1821–1912)

Barton founded the American Red Cross in 1881. Since then, the organization has provided much-needed relief for the vulnerable in America—and abroad. Barton identified her calling while nursing wounded soldiers and searching for missing ones during the Civil War.



Ina May Gaskin, MA, CPM (1940-)

Often described as "the mother of authentic midwifery," Gaskin advocated for natural and home birth at a time when childbirth was seen as a medical problem. Her efforts empowered women to gain control of their bodies and have a say in how they wanted to deliver their babies.



Nancy Brinker, founder and chair of global strategy of Susan G. Komen (1946-)

Susan G. Komen is widely known now for its global efforts to fight breast cancer. But Brinker founded the organization in 1982 when the disease was not discussed. She named the organization in honor of her sister who lost her battle to breast cancer in 1980.



Margaret Higgins Sanger (1879 - 1966)

Sanger is known for her work in advocating for safe and effective birth control. Ahead of her time, she was considered revolutionary for working in the field of birth control and faced a persistent backlash that ultimately forced her to escape the U.S in 1915. Never giving up, she continued in her quest for accessible birth control, opening the first birth control clinic in the United States in 1916. She was then arrested nine days after opening her clinic. Sanger continued the fight for women to have access to birth control, developing what became one of the first oral contraceptives, Enovid. A great example of a woman who never gave up in her struggle, her perseverance and pioneering vision undoubtedly led to women all over the world to have more access to birth control.  



Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831 - 1895)

Graduating in 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African-American woman to earn a medical degree. Following the Civil War, Crumpler worked tirelessly to provide medical care for freed slaves. She then moved to Boston where she wrote a medical book titled ‘A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts’. She is known not only for her pioneering work as a female doctor but also as a true force for overcoming issues of race and prejudice.



Gertrude Elion (1918 - 1999)

Gertrude Elion was an American pharmacologist and biochemist. Honored for her work in the field of treating diseases, Elion went on to share the 1988 Nobel Prize for her efforts in developing drugs used to treat serious diseases. Following retirement, Elion supervised the development of azidothymidine, an AIDS treatment that prevents pregnant women from spreading the disease to their child. She also devised the first antiviral drug to treat viral Herpes infections. Elion was also responsible for inventing an immunosuppressive drug key to organ transplants.



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