Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright
Dr. Jane Cooke Wright

Dr.Jane Wright was an African American oncologist who, along with her father, Dr. Louis Wright conducted pioneering research into chemotherapy drugs, leading to their use as a key method of cancer treatment. Born in New York City on November 30 1919, she was the oldest of two children. Her mother was a schoolteacher. Her father, Dr. Louis Tompkins Wright, was one of the first African-Americans to graduate from Harvard Medical School, and the first black doctor to work in a municipal New York hospital.

Dr. Louis Wright  (Father of Dr. Jane Cooke Wright)
Dr. Louis Wright
(Father of Dr. Jane Cooke Wright)

Jane attended Smith College in Northampton, MA and then attended New York Medical College in 1942 where she graduated with honors. After completing her residency, Jane joined her father, Dr. Louis Wright, and began working at the Cancer Research Foundation that he founded at Harlem Hospital in 1949. They began testing new chemicals on patients with leukemia and lymphatic cancers. When her father died in 1952, Jane Wright became the foundation’s director. She was 33.

In 1964 Wright was appointed to the President’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke. The commission was responsible for establishing regional cancer centers across the country. That same year, she also co-founded the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). She returned to New York Medical College in 1967 as associate dean, professor of surgery, and head of the cancer research laboratory. She retired in 1987. She died on February, 19, 2013 at the age of 93.

 

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