Myra Adele Logan
Physician and Surgeon
Myra Adele Logan was born in 1908 in Tuskegee, Alabama and was the first woman to perform open heart surgery. She is also noted for being a selfless, humanitarian doctor who practiced medicine to serve the community.
She is thought to be the first African American woman elected a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and her research on antibiotics and breast cancer saved countless lives.
Dr. Logan attended Atlanta University in Georgia, graduating with a B.A. in 1927 as valedictorian of her class. She earned her M.S. in psychology from Columbia University in New York. Dr. Logan won a four-year scholarship to New York Medical College and graduated in 1933. She interned as well as served her residency at Harlem Hospital in New York and eventually became associate surgeon. She was also a visiting surgeon at Sydenham Hospital.
In 1943 she became the first woman to perform open heart surgery, in the ninth operation of its kind anywhere in the world. She also became interested in the then-new antibiotic drugs, researching aureomycin and other drugs and publishing her results in the Archives of Surgery and the Journal of American Medical Surgery.
In the 1960s, Logan began to work on breast cancer. She developed a more accurate x-ray process that could detect differences in the density of tissue and discover tumors earlier.
She was also a charter member of one of the first group practices in the nation, the Upper Manhattan Medical Group of the Health Insurance Plan, a concept that houses physicians of various specialties under one roof-which is the norm today.
Dr. Logan was also committed to social issues and was a member of the New York State Committee on Discrimination. She was also active in Planned Parenthood as well as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and after her retirement in 1970 she served on the New York State Workmen's Compensation Board. Her myriad medical and civic achievements led to her election to the American College of Surgeons.