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Dr. Libonati wanted to be a physician from an early age, but she knew that she could not afford to attend college right after high school so she decided to attend nursing school with plans to work her way through college and then medical school. After graduating from St. Joseph’s Nursing School she enrolled as a chemistry major in the Chestnut Hill College Pre-Med program. At the end of her second year she learned that Jefferson Medical College was planning to accept women for the first time. She soon became one of the first women in Jefferson’s Class of 1965. After graduating from Jefferson Dr. Libonati had a rotating internship at Philadelphia General Hospital and then a two year residency in Anesthesia as part of the PGH-Penn program. She then accepted a clinical fellowship in London where she worked at St. Thomas Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital in Pediatrics. After returning to the United States she began a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Colorado. In 1972 Dr. Libonati moved back to Philadelphia to work first at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital as an Assistant Professor and then at Wills Eye Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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Jefferson Medical College, alumni, women, oral histories, anesthesia, PGH, University of Pennsylvania, University of Colorado, Wills Eye Hospital, medicine


History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oral History


DISCLAIMER: These oral histories express the personal views, memories, and opinions of the interviewee. They do not represent the policy, views, or official history of Thomas Jefferson University.

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Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce these oral histories must be obtained in writing from the Thomas Jefferson University Archives and Special Collections. No use (beyond limited quotation) should be made of the transcripts of these interviews without authorization.

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Oral history was edited by Kelsey Duinkerken, February 2015


Interview was conducted by Kelsey Duinkerken with Dr. Margaret Libonati on February 20, 2015

Margaret Libonati Leahy