Dr Leila Denmark, the world’s oldest practicing doctor when she retired at age 103.
She was the world’s oldest practicing pediatrician until her retirement in May 2001 at the age of 103, after 73 years.
Leila Alice Denmark (February 1, 1898 – April 1, 2012) was an American pediatrician in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the world’s oldest practicing pediatrician until her retirement in May 2001 at the age of 103, after 73 years.
She was a supercentenarian, living to the age of 114 years, 60 days. On December 10, 2011, at age 113 years 312 days, she became one of the 100 oldest people ever.
At her death she was the 5th-oldest verified living person in the world and the 3rd-oldest verified living person in the United States.
A pioneering female doctor, medical researcher, and an outspoken voice in the pediatric community, Denmark was one of the few supercentenarians in history to gain prominence in life for reasons other than longevity. She is credited as co-developer of the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine. She started treating children in 1928. By the time of her retirement, Denmark was treating grandchildren and great-grandchildren of her first patients.
Awards and honors:
- 1935, the Fisher Award for “outstanding research in diagnosis, treatment, and immunization of whooping cough for her work on the vaccine”.
- 1953, named Atlanta’s Woman of the Year.
- 1970, Distinguished Service Citation from Tift College as a “devout humanitarian who has invested her life in pediatric services to all families.”
1980, Distinguished Alumni Award, Tift College.
- 1980, Community Service Award, sponsored by television station WXIA, Atlanta, Georgia.
- 1981, Book of Golden deeds Award, Buckhead Exchange Club, Atlanta.
- 1982, Citation, Citizens of Portal, Georgia, jointly with her husband, John Eustace Denmark, for Outstanding Achievement and Service.
- 1989, Shining Light Award, Atlanta Gas Light Company.
- 1998, Lifetime Achievement Award, Atlanta Business Chronicle.
- 2000, Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution honoring her.
2000, Heroes, Saints and Legends Award Wesley Woods.
- 2000, Honorary doctorate, Emory University.