Blackwell-McKinley Society

Society Dean: Todd Otteson, MD, MPH


Emily Blackwell
Emily Blackwell, MD

Emily Blackwell, MD, is an 1854 alumna. She became the second woman to earn a medical degree at what is now Case Western Reserve University and the third woman to earn a medical degree in the United States.

Dr. Blackwell helped her sister, Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, in establishing the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and its Women's Medical College, where she ultimately served as dean. The college eventually merged with Cornell's Medical School. The infirmary merged with Breekman Downtown Hospital and today is known as NYU Downtown Hospital.

The Blackwell Society was begun in August, 2003, as part of the new Academic Societies advising program. Since its inception, the Blackwell Society has honored the pioneering accomplishments of Dr. Emily Blackwell, one of the School of Medicine's most distinguished alumna.

As a founding member of the Academic Societies, Elizabeth McKinley, MD, MPH, served for nearly 10 years as the first Society Dean of the Blackwell Society, fully embracing its mission to provide a comprehensive support system for students to help them master the academic and professional skills required to be a physician. Dr. McKinley's fervor for humanism in medicine was expressed through her multiple program developments at the School of Medicine, including the Professionalism Workshop, the Student Clinician Ceremony, the Healer's Art Curriculum and the Cancer Survivorship elective at The Gathering Place.

Dr. McKinley retired in the spring of 2013, and the School of Medicine renamed the society in her honor. The newly-dedicated Blackwell-McKinley Society is a testament to Dr. McKinley's achievements and devotion to humanism in medicine.

Following Dr. McKinley’s full retirement and her passing in November 2013, Dr. Lynda Montgomery stepped in as the new Blackwell-McKinley Society Dean, pledging to continue the society’s traditions of professionalism and humanism. In 2017, Dr. Montgomery stepped down and Dr. Todd Otteson became the new Dean of the Blackwell-McKinley Society. Dr. Otteson is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Pediatrics and is the James Arnold and Nancy and Tom Seitz Chair in Pediatric Otolaryngology at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center.

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