Today, African American doctors are great contributors to the medical field. They practice in all fields, and have made significant contributions in the areas of cancer, cardiology, HIV-AIDS, neurology, pathology, and radiology-just to name a few. In honor of Black History Month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services salutes those African American pioneers in medicine-both past and present-who tirelessly work to improve the health status of all Americans.
Did You Know…
- William Edward Allen Jr., a radiologist, was the first African American certified x-ray technician, and established the first and only African American Women's Army Corps School for x-ray technologists.
- Otis Boykin invented pace maker controls.
- Phil Brooks invented the disposable syringe.
- Benjamin S. Carson is the youngest chief of pediatric neurosurgery in the nation.
- Rebecca J. Cole was the first African American woman to graduate from the Woman's Medical College in PA. Cole worked with Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first White American woman physician to receive a medical degree
- Michael Croslin computerized blood pressure devices.
- Charles Richard Drew developed a way to preserve blood, created the first blood bank, the American Red Cross, and developed a method to efficiently store blood plasma. He also developed a means of preserving blood plasma for transfusion. He was a surgeon, medical scientist and educator.
- Joycelyn Elders was the first African American to serve in the position of Surgeon General of the United States.
- Solomon Carter Fuller was the nation's first African American psychiatrist and a neurologist.
- William Augustus Hinton was responsible for the Hinton test for syphilis. He also discovered the Davies-Hinton test of blood and spinal fluid
- Robert Stewart Jason was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in pathology.
- Percy Lavon Julian synthesized physotigmine, a drug used for the treatment of glaucoma.
- Roscoe L. Koontz was the first formally trained health physicist.
- Samuel Lee Kountz, Jr. discovered a technique that allows doctors to monitor the fall of the kidney blood supply following transplant surgery and to give certain amounts of drugs to patients to overcome rejection
- Myra Adele Logan was the first woman to perform open heart surgery.
- Arnold Hamilton Maloney discovered an antidote for barbiturate poisoning.
- Dewey Sanderson invented the urinalysis machine.
- Susan McKinney Steward was the first African American woman to formally enter the medical profession.
- Louis Sullivan was the founding dean of the Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. Sullivan was also the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Vivien Theodore Thomas worked on experiments on surgical shock and blue baby syndrome
- Jane Cooke Wright developed anticancer drugs.
- Daniel Hale Williams was the first doctor to successfully perform open-heart surgery.