When she retired in 2001 at the age of 103, Dr. Leila Denmark was the world’s oldest practicing pediatrician. She was believed to be the first female pediatrician in Georgia.
Denmark died in 2012 at the age of 114, but when she practiced she had offices in Atlanta, Forsyth County and Sandy Springs.
This week, the city of Sandy Springs will make sure she’s remembered every time a driver passes one of the city’s street signs in its new downtown area.
On Thursday at 11 a.m., the city will dedicate a new roadway for the late doctor, holding a ceremony for Denmark Drive. Attending the ceremony at the street’s intersection with Boylston Drive will be Mayor Rusty Paul and city councilmembers, as well Mary Hutcherson -- Denmark’s daughter -- and other family members.
Denmark Drive opened to traffic on April 23, but it still doesn’t show itself on Google Maps. It connects Roswell Road and Boylston Drive, running south of Hildebrand Drive and north of Hammond Drive.
Part of City Springs, the street has sidewalks on both sides, along with trees and on-street parking. Its intersections are not signaled, but have stop signs.
Denmark was just the third woman to attend and earn an M.D. from the Medical College of Georgia. She graduated in 1928, and an outbreak in Atlanta of whooping cough in the 1930s prompted her to study the disease. Over the next six years, her work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and in partnership with Emory University and Eli Lilly & Company, she developed the first pertussis vaccine.
Denmark was also the first intern at then-new Henrietta Egleston Hospital, admitting the first sick baby in 1928. Egleston, on the Emory campus, is part of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
She was born in Portal, a small town in Bulloch County, and lived in Athens after her retirement.
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