RUTH JACKSON, MD was the first practicing female orthopedist in the U.S. She discovered the rewards of orthopaedics while working with polio patients under the guidance of Dr. Arthur Steindler at the University of Iowa. In 1932, she opened her office in Dallas, Texas. The following year the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) was founded. All who practiced orthopaedics were allowed to join — except Dr. Jackson. Undaunted, she took and passed the Board Exam in 1937, becoming not only the first woman certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, but also the first woman admitted to the AAOS.
During her 57 years of active orthopaedic practice, she published the Cervical Syndrome based on her experience in treating over 15,000 neck injuries as well as numerous publications in medical journals. She was chief of the non-school orthopaedic service at Parkland Hospital and established the first orthopaedic residency at the hospital. She has spoken at medical associations and societies in 39 states and several foreign countries. Dr. Jackson said that she never meant to be famous. She just did her work and “paid attention to the little things.” The orthopaedic community mourned her passing in 1994 at the age of 91.