Dorothea D. Glass, 92, specialist in rehabilitation

Dorothea Daniels Glass, who fought prejudice against working women and held top medical positions over her long career.
Dorothea Daniels Glass, who fought prejudice against working women and held top medical positions over her long career.
Posted: April 29, 2013

Dorothea Daniels Glass, 92, a former Melrose Park resident who overcame prejudice against working women to become a respected specialist in rehabilitation medicine, died of heart failure Saturday, April 20, at her home in Palm City, Fla.

"My mother walked into the room and you felt better," said her daughter, Deborah. "She was a trailblazer with class."

Known informally as Thea, Dr. Glass was born in New York City and graduated from Cornell University just before the start of World War II.

Her mother and aunt had gone to medical school, and she wanted to follow suit. But when she sought admission after the war, she was repeatedly turned down because she was married and had two children, her daughter said.

She finally was accepted at Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Her daughter said she told of giving birth to her third child during second-year exams. She graduated magna cum laude in 1954 and was licensed to practice medicine in 1955.

After serving an internship at Albert Einstein Medical Center and a residency at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia, she did postgraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania.

For many years, she was chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Coatesville and Philadelphia VA Hospitals.

She also served on the clinical staff of the hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson Medical College, and Women's Medical College, which became Medical College of Pennsylvania.

From 1967 to 1982, Dr. Glass was affiliated with Moss Rehabilitation Hospital. During 10 of those years, she was the medical director.

She was professor emerita of rehabilitation medicine at Temple University Medical School, and for five years was chairman of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Temple and also at Albert Einstein Medical Center.

She was associated with programs at Cooper Medical Center, Frankford Hospital, and the Philadelphia Geriatric Center.

"She was a big part of the lifeblood of the medical institutions for many years," said her daughter, a lawyer.

After moving to Florida in 1982, she became the chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Miami Veterans Association Hospital and a clinical professor of orthopedics and rehabilitation at the University of Miami Medical School.

While in Florida, she came north for part of the year. She retired only when ill health overcame her several months ago.

From the beginning of her career, Dr. Glass was committed to teaching medical students, and the public, about rehabilitation medicine.

She was the director of residency training at Temple, served as an examiner of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and helped create a physical medicine and rehab residency program at Miami.

She also served for years as a surveyor - a person who inspects hospitals seeking certification through the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.

She authored or coauthored many articles, book chapters, and papers for medical conferences.

She was the first woman to be elected president of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and received the organization's highest award.

Since 1995, Dr. Glass was a doctor with Volunteers in Medicine, in Martin County, Fla., an organization serving those without health insurance coverage.

She was the recipient of numerous professional and civic awards, including serving on the Governor's Commission on the Employment of the Handicapped (Pa.), and receiving the humanitarian award of the Pennsylvania Easter Seal Society, distinguished service award of Moss Rehab, and the Susan B. Anthony Award of the League of Women Voters of Martin County.

Dr. Glass's husband, Robert E., died in 1998.

Surviving, in addition to her daughter, are a son, Eugene; daughters Anne Roth and Catherine Barrett; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a sister.

A memorial celebration will be held later.

Contributions may be made to the Dorothea Glass, M.D., and Anna Kleegman Daniels, M.D., Scholarship, Temple University College of Liberal Arts, c/o Frances Hollingsworth, 1228 Anderson Hall, 1114 W. Berks St., Philadelphia 19122.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or cook@phillynews.com.

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