SEPTEMBER 20, 1944
HYDE PARK, Tuesday—I wonder if many of my readers saw the recent story about the Helen Keller Medal and cash awards given by the Jewish Braille Institute of America, in the Spanish section of their 1943 literary competition. The presentation was made by Dr. Charles Henry Stevens, who is the American cultural relations attache in Mexico. These competitions for the blind have been carried on for three years, not only in the United States, but in the British Empire and throughout the Latin American countries.
The three Spanish section prizes were won by residents of the Escuela Nacional de Ciegas. Their names are Pablo Calderon, Antonio Chavez Garcia and Pedro Morales y Morales. One boy won honorable mention. His name is Rafael Guillermo Sarria, and his home is in Puerto Rico.
They characterize this occasion as a "bond of light" between the residents of the United States and the Republic of Mexico, and I think that is a very charming way to increase the bonds which draw our two countries closer together.
Helen Keller, of course, is a great inspiration to all those who are similarly afflicted. The spirit which has enabled her to develop her own capacities to the limit has also given them greater courage. Yet I think her cheerfulness and the serenity which one feels in her presence are probably the greatest gift to those who are similarly handicapped. I know that Miss Keller frequently visits wounded servicemen in the hospitals, and I think her visits, next to the doctors', are probably the most healing that can come to them.
I happened to see the other day that Dr. Martha Eliot, assistant chief of the Children's Bureau, is urging more women to become doctors. It was a long fight before women were finally accepted into the medical corps of the armed forces, but they are now in. Here at home, the shortage of doctors has given women a chance to practise in a broader field than they would have had an opportunity to enter before. The war quotas which formerly held down the number of women admitted to medical schools have been eliminated, and the whole outlook for women in medicine is more favorable.
One particular phase of medical care, I think, will be benefited above all others if the number of women doctors is increased. In rural communities it has always been difficult to obtain good doctors. If scholarships could be given to women, with the understanding that they would then serve a few years in rural areas, I think we could greatly improve the standards of health throughout this section of our population.