Black History: Special Delivery!!



Dr. Myra A. Logan (1908-1977) made history in 1943 by becoming the first woman to operate on a human heart. Logan was born in Tuskegee, Alabama. Her father was the treasurer of Tuskegee Institute. Her mother was well known suffragist and health care advocate. Her mother also had a college degree, which would have been rare at that time. Logan earned an MS in psychology from Columbia University. She then was awarded a scholarship to attend New York Medical College. She graduated in 1933 and completed an internship at Harlem Hospital in the emergency room.

Open heart surgery was still a new procedure in 1943 when Logan became the first woman to perform an open heart operation. At the time, it was only the 9th operation of its kind that had been completed. She continued to be a trailblazer in the field of medicine, studying new antibiotic drugs and research methods of early detection for breast cancer. Logan developed a more accurate x-ray process that was able to identify differences in breast tissue density which allowed tumors to be discovered earlier. Her work in this area saved thousands of lives. Logan was also an organizing member of one of the first group medical practices. The concept of housing physicians from various specialty areas in one location is commonplace today. However at the time it was an unheard of and groundbreaking concept.

She died in 1977 at the age 68 from lung cancer.