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Dame Rosemary Rue

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 20 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:199

Public health pioneer, who became a champion of women in medicine

Rosemary Rue championed the careers of women doctors, enabling them to train part time for specialist qualifications. This had previously been impossible, despite the shortage of qualified specialists. She oversaw the building of new hospitals in Swindon, Reading, and Milton Keynes, and she also helped found the Royal College of Physicians' Faculty of Community Medicine (now the Faculty of Public Health), becoming its first woman president.

She was born Elsie Rosemary Laurence in Essex in 1928. Her family moved to London when she wasfive, and at age 11 she was evacuated during the Blitz to stay with relatives in Devon, where shecontracted tuberculosis and peritonitis. It was while she was convalescing that she decided on a career in medicine, entering the all-woman Royal Free Medical School in London when she was 17.

In 1950 she married Roger Rue, a pilot instructor in the Royal Air Force. When she told the medical school dean that she was changing her name, she was told that she could …

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