International Women’s Day 2020

Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day occurs every March 8th during Women’s History Month. We would like to highlight and recognize international women who have studied at Palmer and who have contributed significantly to the successful establishment and promotion of chiropractic around the world.


In 1904, Mrs. Barbara Brake from Melbourne, Australia traveled to Davenport with her sister-in-law, Martha Brake Thompson, to obtain D.D. Palmer’s help in relieving the pain of her congenitally dislocated hips. They stayed in Davenport to study chiropractic, and then returned to Melbourne and established their own practices. Dr. Brake is believed to be the first chiropractic patient and practitioner from Australia.

Other Australian women soon followed suit, with Helen McKenzie being the first Australian chiropractic graduate, completing her studies at Palmer in 1923. She is pictured here in an advertisement for her practice that appeared in The Chiropractor, May 1931.












Marjaleena Mäkinen (now Dr. Ragna Valli) travelled to Norway seeking relief from bad asthma and discovered chiropractic. She was inspired to study chiropractic herself, graduating from Palmer in 1968. She returned to Finland to start her own practice but was challenged by the National Board of Health (NBH), who suggested that she return to the U.S. Not to be deterred, Mäkinen hired a lawyer and was able to open her own chiropractic practice in May 1969 in her hometown of Pori. The practice survived multiple decades and became known as the oldest chiropractic clinic in Finland. More information can be found in Chiropractic in Europe: An Illustrated History.








(Dr. Valli (Mäkinen) with Dr. Peter Martin)

To learn more about international women come visit the Archives (Room L103).

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