Olga Jonasson, MD (1934-2006)
Dr. Olga Jonasson was born in Peoria, Illinois to parents of Swedish immigrants. As a youngster, Jonasson was influenced by witnessing the work of her mother, a nurse, and her father, a pastor, in caring for the sick. She completed her bachelor’s degree in 1956 at Northwestern, and her medical degree at University of Illinois in 1958. When Jonasson decided to apply for a surgical residency, there were very few women practicing in this area. She completed residency in 1964, followed by three fellowships, one of which was at Massachusetts General Hospital in transplantation immunobiology. She joined the faculty of University of Illinois in 1967, where she developed the Division of Transplantation.Throughout her career, she served as a mentor and role-model for young female surgeons. In 1993, she became the Medical Director of the Education and Surgical Services Department of the American College of Surgeons, the first female surgeon to do so.
1968- Dr. Jonasson performed the first kidney transplant in Illinois
1976- Dr. Jonasson was named the first woman to serve on the American College of Surgery Board of Regents
1977- Dr. Jonasson was named the new Chief of Surgery at Cook County Hospital
1983- Dr. Jonasson chaired the national task force that issued a White Paper which provided broad guidelines for implementation of the newly passed National Organ Transplant Act
2006- The Association of Women Surgeons renamed their Distinguished Member Award the Olga Jonasson Distinguished Member Award