Alma Dea Morani was the first female member of the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. She is now retired from active practice and living in Philadelphia, but her life continues to reflect her role as a plastic surgeon. She was drawn to medicine by the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania (now part of Allegheny University), graduating in 1931. Her love of art, which she learned from her sculptor/father, Salvatore Morani, drew her to plastic surgery. Her difficulty obtaining training in the specialty would have caused others to abandon the goal, but she pursued it with great vigor. Her career path as a plastic surgeon was diverse and challenging. She returned to the Women's Medical College to start her practice, treating the broad spectrum of problems that we all see, and rose to the rank of clinical professor of surgery. In that capacity she was a role model for a whole generation of women who, in turn, acted as mentors for many others to pursue careers in plastic surgery. Dr Morani never shied from politics, playing an international role in women's issues in health care and medical education. Throughout all of this she maintained her interest in art not only as a collector, but as an artist, creating her own works until just a few years ago. Or Morani was the driving force behind the creation of the Morani Gallery of Art at the Medical College of Pennsylvania. This facility is the only ongoing art gallery and collection at any medical school in the United States. As a tribute to her, the chair of surgery at Allegheny University is endowed in her name. She continues to serve as an inspiration to all of us- from medical students to practicing physicians of all types-not only with her ideas, but with the realization that through active participation with the world of art we become stronger, more humane physicians. Alma Dea Morani has inspired a generation of women to pursue careers in plastic surgery. At 89 years of age she continues to serve as an inspiration to young physicians, especially women, who wish to combine the skills of a plastic surgeon with an appreciation of the role of art in the maturation of the individual.
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