Blackwell was the first openly identified woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. (Her sister Emily was the third openly identified woman to graduate from medical school in the United States.)
Blackwell and her sisters aided in nursing efforts when the Civil War broke out. However, Blackwell met with resistance from the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a private relief agency created to support sick and wounded soldiers of the U.S. Army during the Civil War. The male physicians refused to help with the nurse education plan if it involved the Blackwells.
Thankfully, she eventually proved her worth as a physician and had a long and successful career before her death in 1910.