Department: Internal Medicine
Years active at Yale: 1961-1978
Dr. Bodel is being recognized as a gifted scientist, a beloved mentor to students, and an international leader in the study of fever. She came to Yale in 1961 as a research assistant and later joined the faculty, where she conducted research on the experience of women in medicine, challenging the notion that women were less likely than men to persevere and succeed in their medical careers. Writing in the journal Clinical Medicine in 1972, she and co-author Elizabeth Short, MD '68, laid much of the conventional wisdom to rest. (Their work is described in the book Medicine at Yale: The First 200 Years, published in 2011.)
The data they collected led to an increase in the number of women admitted to YSM and better opportunities for women on the faculty. Dr. Bodel become the first director of the school’s Office for Women in Medicine—the first such office at an American medical school—and helped guide the medical school into a new era. Tenure rules were changed, allowing women more time to achieve tenure as they began families. Measures were put in place to correct gender disparities and to provide social and professional support. One example of this was increasing access to childcare.
The Phyllis Bodel Childcare Center has had a tremendous impact on the careers of faculty, students, and staff at the medical school by providing a safe and stimulating environment for their young children right on campus.