Medical Roles

Keeping soldiers fit for fighting required a vast array of trained medical personnel. Professionals in emerging medical specialties such as psychology and radiology sought a place in the military medical structure. Their war work helped legitimize their fields and ensure their continued influence after the war’s end.

Despite the growing numbers of women and minority medical professionals in the United States, gender and race restricted opportunities for military medical roles. The U.S. Army Nurse Corps welcomed white women, but delayed accepting African American nurses until near the end of the war. The military accepted African American doctors, but allowed few to serve overseas. Female doctors could serve only as contractors. 

Close to one thousand African American nurses volunteered for Army service. Despite great need, the government refused to accept them into the Army Nurse Corps until the desperation of the 1918 flu pandemic.
Courtesy of U.S. Army