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Known for Being

The first woman awarded the degree of MD (Medical Doctor) from AUB, in 1931.

A pioneer in advocating for women's reproductive health rights.

Major Accomplishments

Dr. Edma Abou Chedid was the first woman awarded the degree of MD (Medical Doctor) from the American University of Beirut (AUB), in 1931. When she was 15 years old, she dared ask her father about going to the university to study medicine. He agreed without too much trouble. The main obstacle was the university itself. The authorities were somewhat suspicious. A girl? She would be an eternal source of distraction for the men. However, AUB accepted to let her study medicine but with some conditions. AUB proposed that she enters the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and then, when another girl came who also wanted to study medicine, the two would be permitted to study together. For three years, she awaited this opportunity patiently.

In 1931, when she received her degree, she found that only half the battle for her career was won. She was tasked with convincing the people thather degree was as good as a man's. Abou Chedid continued her post-doctoral training in pediatrics and gynecology in London and later in the United States. She then accepted a job offered to her in Baghdad. After spending ten years in Iraq as a teacher and medical consultant, she returned to AUB in 1948 to join the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and to practice in her private clinic. Abou Chedid was a champion of women's reproductive rights and health, helping to found the Lebanon Family Planning Association in 1969 and serving as its first president until 1975, as well as establishing free clinics throughout all of Lebanon. She was honored with many decorations, including the Order of Merit, Officer Rank, for her exemplary humanitarian career in pediatrics. Abou Chedid eventually retired in 1985 and passed away in 1992, but her influence can still be felt at AUB and throughout the region.

Last modified: 01/09/2019

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