Doris A. Howell, M.D., Professor Emeritus, UCSD, was a pioneer (1949) in pediatric hematology, oncology, and community medicine. She was the first woman to chair a US medical school pediatric department (1963). Dr. Howell was a driving force in establishing San Diego Hospice in 1977. Her commitment to providing compassionate, dignified, quality end-of-life care helped dispel doubts in the medical community and raise public awareness about the importance of such care. The San Diego Union-Tribune dubbed her "Dr. TLC." Howell's experience in treating children with cancer led her to pioneer work in the field of pediatric hematology/oncology, attracting patients from all over the world. Dr. Howell battled many obstacles as a woman in her career, having worked at both Harvard and Duke Medical Schools from 1951 to 1963.
In 1963 she became the first woman ever to chair a U.S. medical school pediatric department at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. She was recruited by UCSD in 1974 to be Professor and Chair of Pediatrics, and in 1974 was named Chair of the new Department of of Community Medicine. She was instrumental in developing the model of primary care medicine as we know it--one that views patients as a whole person. She also developed outreach programs in which medical students delivered needed health care to County populations and in Tijuana.