Dr. Julia Hart Box blazed a trail when women were encouraged to stay behind – Remarkable Women of the Gulf Coast

Mobile County

Satsuma, Ala – (WKRG) The story of Julia Box is one of perseverance.  Her determination to accomplish what others said she couldn’t lead to advances in the medical field.

Dr. Julia Box inspecting records of ambulances in Mobile County

 She improved the safety of ambulances in Mobile, helped establish respiratory therapy departments at local hospitals on the gulf coast, and helped create the first school of anesthesia for nurses and served as dean.  

Dr. Box sharing memories from her scrapbook from her Satsuma home

 “I have not done anything remarkable that I can say,” said Julia Hart Box, M.D. from her home in Satsuma, Alabama.  

Julia Hart Box as a child

Born in 1927, Box grew up during The Great Depression.  At eight years old, a painful bone infection sparked her interest in medicine.

“My father wasn’t interested in a girl going into school anyway, to college.  He just laughed.  He thought it was stupid to waste money on a girl going.” However, she refused to give up on her dreams.

“I really think what makes mom so special is just that amount of I almost want to say hard headedness,” said her son,  Mike Box.  Her tenacity is a trait she no doubt got from another Remarkable Woman, her mother.  “My Mother was not one to back down on something,” she said.

Parents of Julia Hart Box, M.D.

At 18 years old, her mother came to America from Scotland on her own.   “She went into hairdressing and worked.  Had her own shop.  We always had a shop in the house.”  
Box put herself through college and graduated from the University of Alabama where she applied for medical school.  The head of admissions turned her down. “He said quite flatly he wasn’t considering any women.”  She watched men in her class receive invitations from Tulane’s medical program.  Despite having better grades than theirs, hers never came.
“I just went down to New Orleans without an invitation.”

She attended medical school in Louisiana where she met her husband

She met the man she would marry while they attended medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans.  In 1961, they moved to South Alabama, had three children, and Dr. Julia Box became the first female anesthesiologist in Mobile.

Dr. Box with her children


“The main thing I’d say is…that if you want it.  Don’t let somebody say you can’t do it I mean, and Don’t expect to sit back and expect somebody to give it to you.  You just get out there and start working on it.”
She says she’s done a lot of praying over the years especially when in pain from the bone infection.  Box says the Lord was looking after her and she is grateful.  

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