LOIS PRICE SPRATLEN
April 24, 2018
Karen J. Matsuda
Transformed women’s health regionally
Karen J. Matsuda was one of Seattle’s first nurse practitioners and an instrumental force in providing reproductive health care to women in need. She was first exposed to the nursing profession from her aunt, who had volunteered as a nurse during World War II, while incarcerated at a federal prison camp for Japanese Americans. In addition to directing Washington’s federal Family Planning Program, Matsuda worked as a public health nurse for King County, a school nurse at Seattle Public Schools, and a nurse practitioner at Planned Parenthood. Matsuda opened clinics, obtained additional funding for women’s reproductive health, and expanded access to crucial preventative tools like pap smears.