Vera Peters: “Cutting the Gordian Knot”

Originally published in the ebook A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention.

by Joan Reinhardt-Reiss

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada was a secure male bastion whose ramparts were rarely breached by women. At the 1975 annual meeting, M Vera Peters, MD was the only female speaker. Her superb resume contained more than a hundred publications and globetrotting lectures. Yet, she possessed three major impediments: she was female, unassertive, and endowed with a soft, sometime quavering voice. Her presence was perfection with neatly coiffed brown hair, twinkling eyes behind large, plastic rimmed glasses, a quick smile and a paragon of haute couture. In high school she replaced her archaic name Mildred with the simple letter M. From her bank accounts to a myriad of scientific papers, the signature would forever be M Vera Peters with initials MVP – truly a Most Valuable Player in medicine.

Vera Peters, an expert breast cancer specialist, always f...



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Posted in STEM Stories.