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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Anna-Riitta Fuchs Manhattan 2008

7th Finglish trip September 2008 #32

Pioneering endocrinologist and educator, Anna-Riitta Fuchs was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1926, the youngest child of Martti and Ruth Olsson. In 1939, at the age of 13 she enlisted in the junior corps of the women's auxiliary when the country was attacked by the Soviet army in the Winter War. In 1943, at age 17, she joined the regular women's auxiliary corps of the armed forces and served as a communications specialist and air raid observer with various combat units in the Continuous War.

After the war, she married the Danish doctor, Fritz Friedrich Fuchs and settled in Copenhagen. The couple eventually had four children. In 1950, she received a Master of Science in Chemistry with honors from the University of Helsinki. She and Fritz spent a year in the US in 1951 as research fellows at the Carnegie Institution in Baltimore. The family moved permanently to the United States in 1964. Initially, she worked as a researcher in endocrinology at the Rockefeller University. Later, she became Professor of Endocrinology at Cornell University.

She served as a visiting scientist in Salvador, Brazil, Bangkok, Thailand and Hamburg, Germany and was appointed a member of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Fuchs was an active promoter of women in science throughout her career. In 2001, she was appointed Professor Emerita at Weill-Cornell Medical College at Cornell University. In 2003, Dr. Fuchs became the second woman to receive the Carl G. Hartman Award, the highest honor conferred by the Society for the Study of Reproduction.

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