Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Doctor Who Brought Condoms to Washington University to Fight AIDS Dies

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Doctor Who Brought Condoms to Washington University to Fight AIDS Dies

Article excerpt

As a young researcher at Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Mary Parker developed the first test for human growth hormone. Her discovery made it possible to treat growth abnormalities, including short stature in children.

Following that success, she changed careers. She wanted more time to raise her five children. Washington University named her director of student health services.

During the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, Dr. Parker spearheaded the move to install condom machines in residence halls. It wasn't easy, she recalled, to get approval from the administration.

But it was worth the effort, she said, to help thwart the spread of the deadly disease: "Not one parent has expressed an objection. They said they were so glad we didn't have our heads in the sand."

Dr. Parker died Saturday (May 24, 2014) at Dolan Memory Care Homes in Creve Coeur. She was 89 and had been a longtime resident of Webster Groves.

She was diagnosed two years ago with Alzheimer's disease, her family said.

Her father disapproved of a woman becoming a physician and didn't support her efforts, according to family lore. But she won a scholarship to Washington University and graduated cum laude in 1953, one of seven women in the medical school class of 87 students.

Mary Christine Langston grew up in Lakeland, Fla., the daughter of a homemaker and a lawyer. She learned carpentry from her paternal grandfather and gardening from her grandmothers. She earned an undergraduate degree from Florida State College for Women in 1946 and a master's degree in chemistry at Florida State University .

She married a medical school classmate, Dr. Charles Parker. They interned at Washington University at a time when the pay was $10 a month plus room and board. Married couples weren't allowed, so the couple lived with his father, registrar at the university.

When her husband joined the Navy, she followed him to Saipan before they returned to St. Louis, where both pursued careers at the university.

Dr. Mary Parker was a researcher from 1959 to 1969 in the lab of Dr. William Daughaday, a pioneer in treating people with growth disorders. She treated children with growth hormone deficiencies. …

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