Google doodle honors Dr. Fe del Mundo, inventor and first woman admitted to Harvard med school

By Kristine Joy Patag/ – Google on Tuesday paid tribute to Dr. Fe del Mundo, fondly called as the “Mother of Philippine pediatrics,” on her 107th birth anniversary with a doodle.

Del Mundo is shown in the doodle with a stethoscope, checking a boy. She was shown in the middle of a doodle of nature, with the moon and a sun at the sides of the illustration, perhaps a nod to how the Filipina physician spent most of her life caring for the children.

Del Mundo was the woman to be named as the country’s first national scientist in 1980. The Filipina doctor was also credited for the breakthrough that led to the invention of the first incubator and jaundice-relieving device.

She graduated as a valedictorian from the University of the Philippines’ medical school in 1933.

She later went to Harvard University Medical School, the first woman at that, in 1936 through a scholarship.

Early in 1941, Del Mundo returned home in Manila where she set up a hospice during World War II. She persuaded the Japanese to open up a children’s home on Jan. 10, 1942. Three weeks since the opening, the facility was housing 130 children and a staff of 25.

Her frustrations with bureaucracy led her to sell her house and belongings to finance the first pediatric hospital in the Philippines, the Children’s Medical Center, which is now known as the Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, in 1964.

She continued making early morning rounds in the hospital until she was 99 years old, even in a wheelchair.

Throughout her life, Del Mundo received numerous citations, which include the Elizabeth Blackwell Award, a recognition named after the first woman in America to receive a medical degree and the 1977 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service.

She passed away in 2011 at the age of 99.

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