Women in Healthcare Epidemiology

Dr. Janet Lane-Claypon
I'm not a big fan of National [fill-in-the-blank] Days—to me they imply we can ignore the topic on the 364 days that we aren’t supposed to celebrate it. So on National Women Physicians Day, we should vow to better recognize the huge contributions women physicians make every day. That way we might not even need a “day” in the future, and can thus focus instead on preparing for National Lima Bean Respect Day (April 20).

In the field of healthcare epidemiology and infection prevention, the list of women leaders is long--and for me to produce one would be very dangerous because I’m sure it’d be incomplete. Instead I’ll point out that the last two SHEA presidents were women, and the 2019 SHEA president will be our esteemed fellow blogger, Hilary Babcock (congrats again, Hilary!).

This also seems like a good day to point interested readers to this piece about Dr. Janet Lane-Claypon, a pioneering physician-epidemiologist who was the first to employ the now-ubiquitous cohort and case-control study designs we use so often in infection prevention. The paper was published in 2004 but I only recent stumbled on it, and found it a fascinating story about a person I clearly should have learned about during my epidemiology coursework (but didn’t!).

I recognize the irony of me posting this from a blog that has a 5:1 male:female ratio. We’ve tried over the years to recruit women to the blog, mostly unsuccessfully. One possible reason (besides the obvious—that we haven’t tried hard enough), is that women physicians put up with substantially more bullshit each day than their male counterparts, and thus have less time for blogging.

To our female readership: if you’re interested in contributing to the blog (either with periodic guest posts, or joining the group), please contact one of us. This isn’t limited to physicians: infection preventionists, non-physician epidemiologists, microbiologists, nurses…pretty much anybody with expertise and strong opinions about infection prevention and healthcare epidemiology!



  1. Thanks for the shout-out Dan! And thanks for doing the post acknowledging/celebrating this day...it's nice not to have the acknowledgment/celebration be an expectation for "the lady blogger" :)

  2. Just want to add this Ed Yong story from yesterday - I Spent Two Years Trying to Fix the Gender Imbalance in My Stories (Here’s what I’ve learned, and why I did it) link Here


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