The month of May is Women’s Healthcare Awareness Month, providing a great opportunity to talk about Greeley’s first female City Physician: Dr. Ella Mead. Dr. Mead moved to Greeley when she was four and graduated from Greely High School in 1894 as class vice president. She started her academic studies in Fort Collins at the Colorado Agricultural College, later renamed Colorado State University, earning her bachelor’s. Dr. Mead continued to pursue her passion of medicine at the Denver and Gross College of Medicine which is now part of the University of Colorado’s Denver campus, graduating in 1903.

Portrait of a middle-aged woman sitting with her right arm bent up to support her chin.

Portrait of Dr. Ella Mead.

Following a year of medical interning, Dr. Ella Mead returned to Greeley. Here in Greeley, she practiced medicine in the fields of Urology and Gynecology. Her success as a physician led her to take on the mantel of Greeley city physician in 1905. She was passionate about her work as a healthcare provider and advocated for more women joining the profession stating, “The female physician brings to her work all the intuition, sympathy, and understanding… [and] When to these qualities is added the skill of special training, then, indeed, she is to her sisters in affliction as an angel of mercy.” Her drive to make Greeley safe and healthier is marked by starting milk checks to make sure no harmful bacteria was being passed to the Greeley consumer. These inspections were popular as The Greeley Tribune had been discussing thousands of local infants dying from “impure milk”.

As Greeley’s City Physician, she released a yearly health report and after looking through the reported illnesses, the Board of Health found that Greeley was the healthiest it had ever been. When she released the yearly health report from her second year (1908) as the City Physician, it was found that in another year under her leadership the cases of Typhoid in Greeley went down from 62 cases in 1908 to just a single case by August of 1909 due to Dr. Mead’s caring devotion to her work.

In 1910, Dr. Mead gave a presentation to the Congress of Mothers in the city council chambers to teach them about a variety of childhood illnesses. She encouraged the mothers to ask any questions they had, and even provided them with tips on how to treat some of the illnesses so they were more equipped to handle them at home. Dr. Mead also established Weld County’s first birth control clinic, targeted towards providing women in Weld County with access to healthcare and information about pregnancy and birth control. Dr. Mead was an advocate for giving mothers and children a voice in their own healthcare, and her passion and skill as a doctor speak to the impact that women’s healthcare can have on a community. She is what Women’s Healthcare Awareness Month is all about.


Written by Kelbi O’Connor, Historic Sites Interpreter

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