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December 2013

Defying the Odds: Dr Ricky Kanee Schachter

Author Affiliations
  • 1University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(12):1399. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.6180

Becoming a physician is challenging in any age but was made doubly difficult by religion and sex in early 20th-century North America. Dr Ricky Kanee Schachter (1918-2007) defied the odds to become Canada’s most celebrated Jewish female dermatologist.

Born in Melville, Saskatchewan, to immigrant parents, Schachter set her sights on medicine early, despite her father’s hesitations about women in higher education. At age 15 years, she entered the University of Manitoba, where she was 1 of only 2 girls taking science courses, and observed that “physics professors did not like girls.”1 She persevered and in 1938 entered the University of Saskatchewan to complete preclinical training but was barred from final examinations because she was Jewish.

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