Catherine Crane, York’s Medical Officer for Health

Catherine Beatrice Crane (1903 – 1979) trained at the London School of Medicine. In 1936 she was appointed assistant Medical Officer of Health for York and Chief Medical Officer for maternity and child welfare for the city.

She became York’s Medical Officer of Health in 1946, and stayed in that post for 22 years until 1968.

On 1 August 1947, during a visit to York, the Queen congratulated Dr Catherine Crane on her post – the first woman in the country to gain such an appointment. She was particularly interested in preventative medicine, organising a campaign to advertise the link between lung cancer and cigarette smoking.

In 1952 her pioneering work brought together the local authority and mental hospital medical personnel to form York Mental Health Service. She was also responsible for setting up a cervical screening service in the late 1950s.

Source: BMJ