Safiye Ali (1891-1952)

She was born in 1891. She holds the title of being the first female medical doctor in Turkey. Graduating from American Girls College in 1916, she decided to become a medical doctor. Back then, the Faculty of Medicine in Istanbul did not accept any female students even though female patients request female doctors during examination. Hence, Ali went to Germany to pursuit her goals in Würzburg University at the Faculty of Medicine. She received funding from the Turkish state and started to learn German immediately. In 1921, she received her title of medical doctor from Ministry of National Education in Bavaria upon receiving the first prize in the exam.

Upon arriving to Istanbul, Ali went back to Germany again to continue her studies where she married her husband. In 1923, she comes back to Turkey by receiving the title of first female doctor in Turkish history. She opened a doctor’s office together with her husband in Istanbul. At first, even though no one stopped by her office because she was a woman, she continued to provide free service to both mothers and their children. She also continued her clinical studies at American College and taught courses on gynecology and obstetrics. She then continued her community service by focusing on nursing homes. She especially focused on educating mothers on malnourished babies and child care. She worked as the only woman in the hospital and often referred as Safiye Ali Bey (Mr. Safiye Ali). She passed away in 1952 in Dortmund.