Helen Brooke Taussig

1889- 1986




Helen Taussig was born in Cambridge MA on May 24, 1898. Her father was a Harvard economist. Her mother died when she was 11 years old from Tuberculosis, which she contracted as well. She spent two years at Radicliff before getting a BS from UCLA. She took medical courses at Harvard and Boston University .She was accepted to John Hopkins where she graduated in 1927. She worked at John Hopkins in the pedriatic department from 1930 to 1963.


Taussig was the first woman to be made a full professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School (1959), and is renowned as the founder of the medical discipline of pediatric cardiology. She was one of the developers of the "blue baby" operation, a surgical procedure that would correct serious cardiac birth defects in thousands of children. Perhaps her most important contribution to society occurred in the 1960's, when she was instrumental in preventing the thalidomide disaster from occurring in the US, as it had in Europe.

In 1965, Dr. Taussig became the first female president of the American Heart Association.


Breakthrough!: How Three People Saved "Blue Babies" and Changed Medicine Forever