Eloísa Díaz

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Eloísa Díaz
Black and white drawing depicting a woman.
Eloísa Díaz.
Born(1866-06-25)June 25, 1866
DiedNovember 1, 1950(1950-11-01) (aged 84)
EducationUniversity of Chile alumni
Years active1887 – 1925
Known forBeing the first female physician in Chile and South America
Medical career

Eloísa Díaz Insunza (Spanish pronunciation: [elo.ˈisa ˈði.aθ]; June 25, 1866 – November 1, 1950), was the first female medical student to attend the University of Chile, and the first woman to become a doctor of medicine in Chile as well as the entire continent of South America.[1][2]

Life and career[edit]

Díaz was born in Santiago, Chile. Her parents were Eulogio Díaz Varas and Carmela Insunza.[3] She completed her requisite studies at Dolores Cabrera Martínez's school, Isabel Le Brun de Pinochet's school and at Instituto Nacional.[2]

Díaz enrolled in 1880 to Escuela de Medicina de la Universidad de Chile (English: University of Chile, School of Medicine), shortly after a law was enacted which allowed women to study at the university.[1][2] Díaz later became the first woman in South America (and in Chile) that graduated, and earn her Medical license[1][2][3] She graduated on December 27, 1886 and obtained her degree on January 3, 1887.[2] Her thesis was named Breves observaciones sobre la aparición de la pubertad en la mujer chilena y las predisposiciones patológicas del sexo (English: Brief observations on the apparition of puberty in Chilean women and their pathological predispositions about sex).[1]

Díaz began working at a San Borja Hospital in January 1891. She worked as a teacher and physician in Escuela Normal from 1889 until 1897. Díaz became the School Medic Supervisor of Santiago in 1898, and was promoted to School Medic Supervisor of Chile. Díaz held this position for more than 30 years.[2] As a philanthropist, Díaz founded several kindergartens, polyclinics for the poor, and school camps.

In 1910 Díaz participated in Hygiene and Medicine International Scientific Congress in Buenos Aires, where she was named "Illustrious Woman of America".[2] Díaz was named Director of the School Medical Service of Chile in 1911, where she implemented school breakfasts and mass vaccination of students, as well as campaigns to combat alcoholism, rickets and tuberculosis.

Díaz retired in 1925. In 1950, she was taken ill and admitted to the San Vicente de Paúl Hospital, where she died at the age of 84.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Eloísa Díaz" (in Spanish). Nuestro.cl. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Eloísa Díaz y Amanda Labarca" (in Spanish). Memoria Chilena. Archived from the original on 27 April 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Personajes de Nuestra Historia - Díaz, Eloísa" (in Spanish). educarchile. Archived from the original on 27 February 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • Windsor, Laura Lynn (2002). Women in medicine : an encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 1576073939.