Nutribén 60 años
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Vol. 24 - Num. 93

Special Articles

Biography of a pioneer pediatrician in Spain: Nieves González Barrio (1884-1961)

Miguel Ángel Zafra Antaa, Juan Carlos Hernández Clementeb, Víctor Manuel García Nietoc, Juan Medino Muñozd

aServicio de Pediatría. Hospital Universitario de Fuenlabrada. Grupo de Historia de la AEP. Madrid. España.
bDepartamento de Psiquiatría. Facultad de Medicina. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Madrid. España.
cCoordinador del Grupo de Historia de la Pediatría de la AEP. España.
dResponsable de la Biblioteca Hospitalaria. Hospital de Fuenlabrada. Fuenlabrada. Madrid. España.

Correspondence: MA Zafra. E-mail:

Reference of this article: Zafra Anta MA, Hernández Clemente JC, García Nieto VM, Medino Muñoz J. Biography of a pioneer pediatrician in Spain: Nieves González Barrio (1884-1961). Rev Pediatr Aten Primaria. 2022;24:93-102.

Published in Internet: 04-04-2022 - Visits: 2314


Introduction. At the beginning of the 20th century, we can find and rescue from oblivion pioneer women in Pediatrics and Puericulture in Spain, to underline their role within the conquest of public space for women. María Nieves González Barrio (1884-1961) was one of them. Objective: to describe her professional life as a pioneering physician and pediatrician-pediatrician-puericulturist (historical biography), framed in a humanistic context.

Material and methods. Historical and hemerographic study (BNE-National Library of Spain-, BNF-Gallica (library of France), ABC newspaper, Memoirs of the Junta de Ampliación de Estudios, González Barrio herself in Black and White in 1935, and others). Selected: 22 scientific articles and books, plus 26 historical press articles.

Results. González Barrio presented her doctoral thesis in 1915, on Kala-Azar. She was a pioneer physician in formative trips to the USA. Her activity: Laboratory Medicine and Pediatrics. She was a professor at the National School of Puericulture, from 1926 to 1931, in charge of the laboratory and of organizing the service of visiting nurses and nannies. She was a promoter of nursing specialization. She belonged to several medical and educational institutions, and for the promotion of women, such as the Women's Lyceum Club and others.

Comments. She was one of the first pediatric doctors in Spain, with a doctorate, and a pioneer in international training, research and teaching. Her professional life was truncated by the ups and downs of Spanish politics and healthcare, as well as family needs. Her figure, personal determination, legacy, her great multifaceted capacity and her work as a woman scientist and pediatrician deserve to be taken into consideration and studied in greater depth.


History of paediatrics Nieves González Barrio



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