Dunbar Hospital in Detroit, MI, was founded in 1918. Healthcare for Detroit’s African Americans was severely inferior to care available for white patients. At this time more than 30,000 African-Americans lived in Detroit. The city was very segregated. Black physicians could not join the staff of Detroit’s White hospitals and patients were denied care at the city’s White hospitals. Thus, 30 Black doctors, members of the Allied Medical Society (now the Detroit Medical Society), incorporated Dunbar Hospital, the city’s first nonprofit community hospital for the African-American population.
Dr. Jose`Celso Barbosa (1857-1921) was a trailblazing physician, political leader, and activist. Known as the “father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement”. Barbosa was born in the city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. His parents were of African and European descent. Barbosa received his primary and secondary education at the Jesuit Seminary in Puerto Rico. He was the first person of mixed ancestry to attend. Barbosa was also the first Puerto Rican to earn a medical degree in the United States.
Jewel Plummer Cobb (1924 – 2017) grew up in Chicago, Illinois. Her groundbreaking research studied the relationship between skin pigmentation and cancer. She was also a staunch advocate for increasing the number of women and students of color in STEM careers. Her father, Frank Plummer was a doctor and her mother, Carriebel Cole Plummer, was physical education and dance teacher. Cobb’s grandfather was formerly enslaved man who received his freedom and graduated from Howard University in 1898, earning a degree in pharmacy. Continue reading “Jewel Plummer Cobb: African American Cancer Researcher and Scientist “→
Dr. Dale Okorodudu is committed to connecting with black male youth and encouraging them to consider careers in the medical field. Currently, only Black Men In White Coats was established in 2013 by Okorodudu after he learned the number of black men entering the medical field was decreasing. In 2011 there were even less black males entering the medical field than in 1978. His mission for the organization “is to inspire the next generation of physician leaders and to diversify the field of medicine with a special emphasis on Black males.”. The event is open to all genders. Currently, on 6% of physicians in the U.S. are black. The 2019 event was held at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Several other medical schools from around the country also participated including, University of North Carolina, Duke University, University of Colorado and UCLA.
Students, parents, teachers, medical professionals, and community leaders participated in the event. The event welcomes students who are in the 3rd – 12th grades. Students are able to connect with mentors and other supports that can aid them in pursuing education and career options in the medical field; while parents are also given resources and guidance to understand how to support their child in pursuing a career in the medical field. For more info on the organization, visit their website: http://www.blackmeninwhitecoats.org/
Dr. Trachette Jackson (1972 – ) is a professor and mathematician. Jackson has focused her mathematical research in the area of cancer oncology. She and her research team, are exploring how mathematical modeling can be used to gain a broader understanding of cancerous tumor growth and how it is initiated. Her research has gained international attention. Jackson received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1994 from Arizona State University and earned her masters and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1996 and 1998. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on mathematical models and their connection to chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients. Continue reading “Trachette Jackson: Black Mathematician Making An Impact In Cancer Research”→
Dr. Clarence Sumner Greene was the first Board Certified African American Neurosurgeon in the United States. Sumner was born in 1901 in Washington DC. He moved to New York briefly when his mother remarried but soon returned to Washington DC to live with an aunt. Greene thrived there, academically and athletically. He attended Dunbar High School. During high school, he was given the nickname, “Bronze Adonis” by his classmate the young, Charles Drew.
After graduating high school, Greene entered the University of Pennsylvania majoring in dentistry. He graduated with a DDS in 1926 and practiced dentistry for a year. However, he did not find it fulfilling. Greene then enrolled in a pre-med program at Harvard University from 1927-1929. He completed an internship at Cleveland City Hospital in 1930. He then enrolled at Howard University Medical School where he graduated with a medical degree in 1936 at the age of 34. Green completed a surgery residency rotation under his childhood friend, Dr. Charles Drew. He then worked as a professor of surgery at Howard University Medical School.
In 1946, Greene had the good fortune to train with renowned surgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield at the Montreal Neurological Institute. In 1953 he became the first person of African descent to become certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Greene would then go on to serve as the Chair of Neurosurgery at Howard University. While there he successfully completed numerous surgeries related to intracranial aneurysms, brain tumors, and herniated intervertebral discs.
Greene died unexpectedly in 1957 at the age of 56. His son Charles Greene, Jr would follow in his footsteps becoming a successful pediatric neurosurgeon.
Louis Charles Roudanez (1823-1870) founded one of the first black daily newspapers for Blacks in the U.S in New Orleans, Louisiana. (The first Black Newspaper published by a black person was Freedom’s Journal in 1827). Roudanez used the publication to advocate for the abolition of slavery, voting rights for all, desegregation, and land ownership rights for those formerly enslaved. Roudanez was also an accomplished physician respected by both blacks and whites in his community.
During the 1800s the city of New Orleans was very different from the rest of the country. New Orleans was home to a large number of free black Creoles (free people of color of French or Spanish descent and mixed heritage). Creoles enjoyed privileges that were not given to slaves or even most free blacks. Creoles comprised about ten percent of the black population in Louisiana. They were typically affluent, educated, and often business owners. Many used their affluence to advocate for abolition and civil rights. Continue reading “Dr. Louis C. Roudanez: Physician, Journalist & Activist”→