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  1. “[I am proud to be a role model]not because I have done so much, but to say to young people that it can be done." -Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown (First African American female surgeon in the South)

  2. Onesimus • In 1721, Onesimus, a slave in Boston, informed his master about an inoculation procedure practiced in Africa to fight smallpox. • The technique, practiced throughout Africa, involved extracting fluid from the pustule of an infected person and, using a thorn to inoculate an unaffected person, thus granting immunity. • Onesimus' recollection of a traditional African medical practice saved numerous lives and sparked the introduction of smallpox inoculation in the United States. •

  3. Dr. James Derham • Former slave who operated a successful medical practice in New Orleans in the 1780’s. • First practicing African American physician although he never received an MD degree. • Acquired his medical knowledge as a slave from his three former owners who were physicians.

  4. Mabel Keaton Staupers • Mabel Keaton Staupers was born in Barbados, West Indies, in 1890. In 1917 she graduated from Freedmen's Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, D.C. and went on to work as a private duty nurse in New York. Staupers helped black women nurses get into the mainstream of American nursing. • She also helped to integrate black nurses into the Armed Forces and the American Nurses Association. • From 1934 to 1946 Mabel Keaton Staupers was executive secretary of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, NACGN. • She organized the Booker T. Washington Sanatorium, which became the first medical facility in the Harlem area where black doctors could treat their patients. For twelve years she was the executive secretary of the Harlem Committee of the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association. • In 1951 Staupers was the recipient of the Springarn Medal, an award for the outstanding woman leader of the century.

  5. Black Red Cross Nurses • During the first World War Black women served with the American Red Cross. The number of Black women enlisted by the Red Cross is not known because the Red Cross enrolled workers regardless of color, race or creed. • In some areas of the North, Black and White women worked together. In the South, Black women had their own Black auxiliaries. This was also true for some Northern cities. In some cities, Black women weren't permitted to work at the soldiers' canteens. So, they provided services for Black troop trains passing through Chicago . • In June 1918 Black nurses were fully allowed to participate in medical services to Black troops. At this time hundreds were dispatched to camps. • The Red Cross Nursing Division continued to do recruiting for nurses to provide services in military hospitals. Black nurses played a vital role in the success of this organization.

  6. Dr. James McCune Smith • Dr. James McCune Smith is the first African American to hold a university degree in medicine. • He was a tireless physician, writer, a leader in the abolition movement, a community organizer involved in African American education, orphanages, and healthcare • At about age 22 Smith chose to leave the United States when no American university would offer him, a free negro, a place to pursue higher studies. He set sail for Glasgow, Scotland.. • Acquired a university education in Scotland and France.

  7. Dr. Charles B. Purvis • 1865graduate of what is now Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. • He worked as a Union surgeon during the American Civil War, then taught medicine for several decades at Howard University. • On 2 July 1881, Purvis happened to be nearby when President James Garfield was shot twice by Charles Guiteau. Despite the strict segregation of his era, Dr Purvis was "allowed" to offer medical services until white doctors arrived at the scene, thus becoming the first African-American to provide medical care for an American President. • From 1883-93 he was chief surgeon at Freedman's Hospital, a medical facility for colored patients and affiliated with Howard University, making Purvis the first African-American to head a civilian hospital in America. • Still, he was denied membership in the American Medical Association on account of his race.

  8. Dr. Rebecca Crumpler • First African American woman to graduate with a medical degree. • In 1860, she was admitted to the New England Female Medical College. When she graduated in 1864, Crumpler was the first African American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. degree, and the only African American woman to graduate from the New England Female Medical College, which closed in 1873. • Author of ‘Book of Medical Discourses’, one of the very first medical publications by an African American.

  9. Dr. Rebecca J. Cole • 2nd African American woman to graduate from medical school. (1867). • Dr. Cole graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1867. • went to work at Elizabeth Blackwell's New York Infirmary for Women and Children to gain clinical experience after medical school. • in 1873 opened a Women's Directory Center to provide medical and legal services to destitute women and children. • In January 1899, she was appointed superintendent of a home run by the Association for the Relief of Destitute Colored Women and Children in Washington, D.C.

  10. Major Alexander T. Augusta • Alexander Thomas Augusta was the highest-ranking black officer in the Union Army during the Civil War .  He was also the first African American head of a hospital (Freedmen’s Hospital) and the first black professor of medicine (Howard University). • Surgeon of the 7th U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War, he was the first black Major in the United States Army • He eventually received a medical degree from Trinity Medical College in Toronto • The first African American to head a hospital in the United States when he directed Lincoln Hospital, an army hospital in Savannah Georgia and later Howard University’s Freedmen's Hospital from 1863-1864. • Believed to be the first African American to serve on the faculty of a US medical school, Howard University 1869-1877 • During 1868-1876, Dr. Augusta taught in the Medical Department. His subject areas were "Practical Anatomy," "Descriptive and Surgical Anatomy," and "Descriptive Microscopial and Surgical Anatomy." Professor Augusta was also a "Clinical Lecturer on Diseases of the Skin.”

  11. Dr. Daniel Hale Williams • He began working as an apprentice to the physician (Dr. Henry Palmer) for two years and in 1880 entered what is now known as Northwestern University Medical School. • After graduation from Northwestern in 1883, he opened his own medical office in Chicago, Illinois. • Founded the Provident Hospital, the first non-segregated hospital in the US, in Chicago in 1891. • Is best known for performing first successful open-heart surgery in 1893. • In 1893, during the administration of President Grover Cleveland, Williams was appointed surgeon-in-chief of Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C.. In addition to organizing the hospital, Williams also established a training school for African-American nurses at the facility

  12. Dr. Eliza Ann Grier • Emancipated slave • 1st African American woman licensed to practice in Georgia – 1897 • She attended Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania and graduated seven years later. • Financed her degree by alternating one year of picking cotton with one year of medical school. Photo credit:

  13. Dr. Matilda Arabella Evans • Evans enrolled at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1893. She received her M.D. in 1897 and returned to Columbia, South Carolina, where she established a successful practice. • 1st African American woman licensed to practice in South Carolina. 1897 • Founder of the Columbia Clinic Association and the Negro Health Association of South Carolina. Photo credit:

  14. Dr. William Augustus Hinton • Expert on serology of syphilis and gonococcus infection in relation to public health. • Entered Harvard Medical School in 1909 and earned an M.D., with honors, in 1912, completing his degree in only three years. • At Harvard Medical School, he won the competitive Wigglesworth Scholarship two years in a row and the coveted Hayden Scholarship in his last year • Dr. William A. Hinton was the first African American to become a professor at Harvard Medical School • Developed standard test for diagnosing syphillis – The Hinton test in 1927. • Dr. Hinton was responsible for the discovery of the • Davies-Hinton test of blood and spinal fluid.

  15. Dr. Louis Wright • 1915 graduate of Harvard Medical College. • Louis Wright served in France as a physician and Captain in the U.S. Army in World War I.  There he successfully implemented life-saving treatments and suffered exposure to poison gas that led to both a Purple Heart and a lifelong respiratory illness. • Became an expert in the treatment of head injuries and introduced the intradermal method of vaccination for smallpox during WW I. • Pioneer in hospital racial integration. • During the 1930s Wright authored columns for the NAACP magazine Crisis, where he challenged the contention that biological factors caused African Americans to harbor more syphilis and infectious diseases than the general population • Wright also founded the cancer research center at Harlem Hospital known as the Harlem Hospital Cancer Research Foundation.

  16. Dr. James W. Ames • Ames was educated at Straight University (now Dillard University) in New Orleans, and then received a degree from Howard University. • In 1918, Ames and a group of 30 black physicians, tired of asking white doctors for permission to admit a black patient to a white hospital, decided to form their own non-profit hospital for blacks. • Together they founded Dunbar Hospital in Detroit. This hospital was organized because no other hospital in the city would admit African-Americans at that time.

  17. Dr. Leonidas H. Berry • Graduate of the Rush Medical College of the University of Chicago in 1929. Completed a one year internship at the Freedman’s Hospital in Washington D.C. in 1930. • Renowned gastroenterologist and inventor of the gastrobiopsyscope. • The first African American professor at the Cook County Graduate School of Medicine, where he taught gastroenterology and gastroscopy • First Black physician admitted to the staff of Chicago's Michael Reese Hospital in 1946. • In 1975, after twenty-five years of service, Berry retired from Cook County Hospital as chief of endoscopy services and senior attending physician • Autobiography- I Wouldn’t Take Nothin’ for My Journey

  18. “[ I encourage my students to ] strive for excellence and avoid using race as an excuse for any lack of success.” - Dr. LaSalle D. Lefall (Leading oncologist and educator)

  19. Dr. Lucy Oxley • First African – American graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1935. • In Cincinnati, she started a family practice in the mainly African American community of Walnut Hills • The first woman named Family Physician of the Year by the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (1984) • Maintained over 200 patients up her death in 1991 from lung cancer.

  20. Dr. Percy Julian • African American research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants • Developed synthetic steroids to treat arthritis and other inflammatory disease. • Synthesized the medicines physostigmine for glaucoma and cortisone for rheumatoid arthritis. 1935 • African American pioneer in the industrial large-scale chemical synthesis of the human hormones, steroids, progesterone, and testosterone. His work would lay the foundation for the steroid drug industry's production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills. Photo credit:

  21. Dr. Charles Drew • Pioneer in the storage of blood as plasma – 1940. • Founder and first directort of the first American Red Cross blood bank • Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. • Charles Drew was a medical doctor and surgeon remembered as the inventor of the blood bank. • Although of African-American heritage in an age of rampant racial discrimination, Drew managed to achieve an extremely high level of education (BA from Amherst in 1926, MD and Master of Surgery from McGill University in Montreal 1933, and a Doctor of Science in Medicine from Columbia University in 1940) and to become a well-respected surgeon and professor. • He found that if he separated the plasma (the liquid part of blood) from the whole blood (containing the red blood cells) and then refrigerated the two separately, he could combine them up to a week later for transfusion. • He also determined that everyone has the same type of plasma. Thus in certain cases it was possible to give a plasma transfusion which could be administered from anyone to anyone, regardless of blood types • his insistence on ignoring the racial background of donors and transfusion receivers meant that non-white soldiers no longer bled to death waiting for a same-race donor to contribute blood • Drew himself was critically injured in a car accident in 1950 he was refused admittance to the closest hospital because of his race. By the time he arrived at the more distant hospital for blacks he had lost so much blood that a transfusion was of no avail.

  22. Dr. Vivien Thomas • Vivien T. Thomas was a surgical technician and a pioneer in the anastomosis of the subclavian artery to the pulmonary artery. The surgical work he performed with Alfred Blalock paved the way for the successful outcome of the Blalock-Taussig shunt. • Instrumental to the success of thousands of “blue baby” operations. (1940s) • Blalock and Thomas worked closely in the surgical laboratories. Thomas was a major contributor in the development of operative techniques. He and Blalock also collaborated on the design of surgical equipment. • Thomas supervised the surgical laboratories at Hopkins for over 35 years, and in 1976 he was appointed instructor in surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 1979, upon his retirement, he became instructor emeritus of surgery. Vivien Thomas's achievements were widely recognized by his colleagues. In 1976, he was awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Laws, by the Johns Hopkins University.

  23. Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown • First African American female surgeon in the South. 1948 • Former chief of surgery of Nashville’s Riverside Hospital. 1957 – 1983 • She was also the first African American woman to be made a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. • Attended Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. She received her B. A. in 1941 • She enrolled at Meharry Medical College, in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated in 1948. • Completed year's internship at Harlem Hospital before returning to Tennessee • Brown worked through a five-year residency at Meharry and George W. Hubbard Hospital to become Assistant Professor of Surgery in 1955 • When a young, unmarried patient implored the orphanage-raised physician to adopt her newborn daughter, Brown became the first single adoptive mother in Tennessee, in 1956. • Then, in 1966, when redistricting opened the door for a black candidate, Brown was asked to run for a seat in the state legislature. She ran, and she won, becoming the first black woman representative to the state legislature in Tennessee. Brown would later resign after the bitter defeat of an expanded abortion rights bill she sponsored, frustrated in her belief that it had the potential to save the lives of many women in Tennessee.

  24. Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown • As she often said, she was proud to be a role model, "not because I have done so much, but to say to young people that it can be done."

  25. Dr. Edith Irby Jones • First African-American student to attend and graduate from the University of Arkansas School of Medicine in 1952. • Her enrollment in the previously segregated southern medical school made news headlines across the nation, 9 years before the “Little Rock Nine” intergreated Little Rock Central High School. • At that time she was not allowed to use the same dining, lodging, or bathroom facilities as other students. • 1st female president of the NMA, established for black doctors who were not allowed to join the American Medical Association.. 1985 • She has also been active in the American Medical Women's Association and Planned Parenthood, as well as other groups. • In 1991 she sponsored the establishment of a medical clinic in Haiti. Photo credit

  26. Dr. Samuel Lee Kountz Jr. • Samuel Lee Kountz Jr. was a physician and pioneer in organ transplantation, particularly renal transplant research and surgery. • Performed first successful kidney transplant between a non-twin donor and recipient. 1961 • Developed technique to detect and treat the rejection of transplant kidneys. • MD degree was conferred in 1958 from the University of Arkansas Medical Center’s School of Medicine in Little Rock (now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences). • He completed an internship at the prestigious Stanford Service, a San Francisco hospital, followed during the next two years. He completed a rigorous surgical residency there in 1965. • Throughout his career, he performed more than 500 kidney transplants. • In 1965, he performed the first renal transplant in Egypt as a visiting Fulbright professor in the United Arab Republic. • Kountz made the breakthrough observation that high doses of a steroid hormone, methylprednisolone, arrested the rejection of transplanted kidneys. This discovery led directly to the current drug regimens that make organ transplants using donations from unrelated donors routine.

  27. “For my future I hope to be one of the best doctors in the world in my day and time. I believe that it is my calling and highest ambition and I am going to make every effort to make it a success." Dr. Samuel Lee Kountz, July 15, 1948 (Performed first kidney transplant between non-twin donor and recipient – 1964)

  28. Dr. Clarice D. Reid • 3rd African American to graduate from UCCOM in 1959. • She completed a rotating internship and pediatric residency at Jewish Hospital with pediatric training at the Children's Hospitals Medical Center, both in Cincinnati. • Only African American pediatrician in private practice in Cincinnati from 1962 - 1968. • In 1969, she became director of Pediatric Education at Jewish Hospital, and in 1970 was named chairman of the hospital's Pediatrics Department. • She joined the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the National Sickle Cell Disease Program in 1973. Under her leadership, the institute made many important advances in sickle cell disease research and hematology, including preventing infections in infants and young children with sickle cell disease with prophylactic penicillin, describing the clinical course of sickle cell disease, using hydroxyurea to reduce painful episodes in adult sickle cell disease patients, exploring the potential for transplantation with umbilical cord blood, and improving the nation's blood supply. Photo credit:

  29. Dr. Jane Cook Wright • Daughter of Dr. Louis Wright, who was the first African American doctor appointed to a staff position at a municipal hospital in New York City and, in 1929, became the city's first African American police surgeon. He also established the Cancer Research Center at Harlem Hospital. He was also one of the first AA to graduate from Harvard Med • She is most known because she analyzed a wide range of anti-cancer agents, explored the relationship between patient and tissue culture response, and developed new techniques for administering cancer chemotherapy. • In 1949 Jane joined her father, director of the Cancer Research Foundation at Harlem Hospital. • Dr. Louis Wright worked in the lab and Dr. Jane Wright would perform the patient trials. In 1949, the two began testing a new chemical on human leukemias and cancers of the lymphatic system. • in 1952, Dr. Jane Wright was appointed head of the Cancer Research Foundation, at the age of 33. • Dr. Jane Wright was named professor of surgery, head of the Cancer Chemotherapy Department, and associate dean at New York Medical CollegeNewYork Medical College, the highest post ever attained by an African American women in medical administration. At that time 1967 • First woman president of the American Cancer Society. 1971 Photo credit:

  30. Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston • First African-American woman to direct a Public Health Service Bureau when she became become director of the Bureau of Primary Health Care in the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration in 1990. • Her 1986 study of sickle-cell disease led to a nationwide screening program to test newborns for immediate treatment. • Former associate professor of pediatrics at UCCOM. • She studied zoology at Miami University, and when she graduated in 1960, she enrolled at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. When she began medical school, she was one of only six women, and the only African-American woman in her year. • In 1976 she began a long association with the National Institutes for Health as a medical expert, and later, as deputy branch chief of the Sickle Cell Disease Branch. Photo credit:

  31. “But I have realized that what you learn from a mentor is at least as important as what you learn in the classroom." - Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston

  32. Dr. AlexaCanady • 1st female African American pediatric neurosurgeon. • Alexa Irene Canady had almost dropped out of college as an undergraduate, but after recovering her self-confidence she went on to qualify as the first African American woman neurosurgeon in the United States. • earned a B.S. and M.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1971, and 1975 respectively • Chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 1987 – 2001 • Throughout her twenty-year career in pediatric neurosurgery, Dr. Canady has helped thousands of patients, most of them age ten or younger.

  33. Dr. Donna Christian-Christensen • 1st woman physician in the history of Congress. • As a Member serving her seventh term, she is the first woman to represent an offshore Territory, the US Virgin Islands and the first female Delegate from the United States Virgin Islands. • Delegate Christensen has just been elected Second Vice-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. • Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’s Health Braintrust which oversees and advocates minority health issues nationally and internationally. Photo credit:

  34. Dr. Gloria Wilder-Braithwaite • Pediatrician, humanitarian, and anti-poverty activist. • Medical Director, Mobile Health Programs at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., which operates mobile pediatric clinics in some of the most impoverished cities in Washington D.C. • Initially thought to be autistic, Wilder-Braithwaite was, in fact, a gifted student. • After graduating from the New York City public school system, she received a scholarship to Howard University, where she majored in microbiology and chemistry. • She then earned her master’s degree in public health and then doctor of medicine degree from the Georgetown University. • In 2002, she received the “Use Your Life Award” from Oprah’s Angel Network, which recognizes organizations and individuals that are reaching out to others and making a difference.

  35. Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. • First African-American admitted to and graduate from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1970. • Dr. Watkins went onto become the first black chief resident in cardiac surgery at the Johns Hopkins Hospital • Conducted cardiac research at the Harvard Medical School of Physiology from 1973-1975. At Harvard, he investigated the relationship between congestive heart failure and the reninangiotensis system. • Performed the world's first implantation of the automatic defibrillator in a human. 1980 • He also developed the cardiac arrhythmia service at Johns Hopkins. He has done research on coronary heart disease in blacks through the Minority Health Commission and Panel for Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery. • Instrumental in increasing the number of minority students attending Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, by 400% in four years. • In 1992, Vanderbilt University established a Professorship and Associate Deanship in Dr. Watkins' name to honor his work for diversity in medical education.

  36. Dr. Jeanne Spurlock • Psychiatrist • First woman to receive the Edward M. Strecker M.D. Award for excellence in pyschiatric care and treatment 1971 • In 1974 she became deputy medical director of the American Psychiatric Association, a position she held until 1991. • Lobbyist for funding minority medical and post-medical education. • As a psychiatrist, she made significant contributions in focusing the medical community's attention on the stresses of poverty, sexism, racism, and discrimination that effect women, minorities, gays, and lesbians. • She was particularly concerned with addressing the unique challenges faced by single women, children of absent fathers, and African Americans experiencing what she called "survivor guilt," —having ambivalent feelings about their own success. • She co-authored the influential text, Culturally Diverse Children and Adolescents: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment, published in 1994.

  37. Dr. Clive O. Callender • 1st Black member of the National Organ Transplant Task Force • Established a kidney transplant program at Howard University in 1973. Photo credit:

  38. Dr. Alfred L. Goldson • Pioneered the use of radioactive material and electron radiotherapy to combat prostate cancer. 1975 • These techniques are now commonly used for many forms of cancer. Photo credit:

  39. Dr. LaSalle D. Lefall • First African American President of the American Cancer Society. 1978 • First African American President of the American College of Surgeons. 1979 •

  40. Dr. Louis Sullivan • 1st president of Morehouse Medical School in 1981. • 1st African American physician to attain a presidential cabinet post. Photo credit:

  41. Dr. Mae C. Jemison • Graduated with a medical degree from Cornell University in 1981. • 1st African American woman and doctor to travel into outer space. 1992 Photo credit:

  42. “…experienced physicians and surgeons have a responsibility to pass the torch and share their knowledge with younger physicians and surgeons.” - Dr. Claude H. Organ Jr. (Former president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons)

  43. Dr. Janice G. Douglas • First woman appointed to the role of Professor of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University Medical School in the 150 year history of the institution. 1984 •

  44. Dr. Yvonne Thornton • Established and developed the program for chorionic villus sampling at the New York Hospital. • Her research on CVS played an instrumental role in the FDA’s approval of the process. 1989 • Author of “The Ditchdigger’s Daughters” 1995 Photo Credit:

  45. Dr. Donald Wilson • 1st African American dean at a predominantly white medical school. (The University of Maryland SOM) 1991 • Former chair of the American Association of Medical Colleges. Photo credit:

  46. Dr. Barbara Ross - Lee • 1973 graduate from th Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. • First African American female to serve as dean of a US medical school. 1993 • 1 of only 7 female deans of US medical schools.

  47. Dr. Jocelyn Elders • 1st African American U.S. Surgeon General. 1994 • Former director of Arkansas State Health Department.

  48. Dr. Paula Mahone / Dr. Karen Drake • Lead perinatologists in the delivery of the McCaughey septuplets in 1997. • Leading Iowa authorities on high-risk pregnancies

  49. Dr. Keith Black • Chairman – Dept. of Neurosurgery Cedars Sinai Health System • Pioneered research on designing ways to open the blood-brain barrier.

  50. Dr. Elizabeth Odilile Ofili • Cited in 1997 as one of the nations top 25 Black female doctors. • First woman president of the Association of Black Cardiologists. 2000