Vera M. Eiden, M.D., Scholarship
Vera Mather Eiden grew up in Manitoba, the daughter of a high school principal. She attended the University of British Columbia, and then the University of Oregon where she earned a masters degree in marine biology (1927). Her interests having turned to medicine, she read that Johns Hopkins was the premier medical school in the United States. She naively applied only there and was accepted as one of its first women students. She found passage on a freight boat, which, after passing through the Panama Canal, deposited her in Baltimore with only enough money for the first year. As a first-year student she lived on a cot in a hallway until the dean gave her the news that she had been selected to receive financial support from a grateful (and wealthy) patient who wished to help a deserving medical student. (They went on to become lifelong friends).
After graduating with her M.D. in 1931, she subsequently studied psychiatry with Adolph Meyer at Hopkins—one of the first clinicians to break away from the rigid traditions of Freudian psychoanalysis. Throughout her career she followed his “common sense” approach to mental illness, focusing her interests on alcoholism.
After completing her residency at Hopkins (1935), Dr. Eiden worked as an attending psychiatrist at New Haven Hospital and then as an assistant professor at Yale. She became clinical director of the Rhode Island State Hospital for Mental Disease (1942-1951), a position that allowed her time to raise her family. She subsequently ran the state hospital in Wilmar, Minnesota, before becoming director of neuropsychiatry at Ancker Hospital, part of the University of Minnesota system. Bored with retirement, she took and passed the California licensing exam in her mid-70s and practiced part-time in Palo Alto, California.
Dr. Eiden would be proud that a scholarship in her name might be able to help another deserving student achieve his or her dream of becoming a physician.
Congratulations on receiving the Vera M. Eiden, M.D., Scholarship