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June 4, 1982

Estelle Ramey, PhD: her sister's keeper

JAMA. 1982;247(21):2877-2881. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320460005002

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It was summer 1970, and the women's movement had begun to flower, when Edgar Berman, MD, friend and physician to Hubert Humphrey, told the Democratic Party's Committee on National Priorities that women were unfit for leadership because of "raging hormonal imbalances."

The reaction by women was swift and furious. Among the outraged letter writers demanding Berman's ouster from the committee was Estelle R. Ramey, PhD, a respected endocrinologist, former "Distinguished Woman for Humphrey," and professor of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University Medical School, Washington, DC.

"If Dr Berman's political advice to Hubert Humphrey was as sound as his knowledge of medicine, the whole enterprise [1968 elections] was doomed from the start," Ramey wrote in a letter to the editor of a Washington newspaper. In the hoopla that followed, Ramey, a specialist on hormones and stress, and Berman, a surgeon, appeared together on national television and debated before the press