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5 Noteworthy African Americans Who Shaped the Healthcare Industry

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Celebrating Black History Month by spotlighting their achievements
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African Americans have a long and deep history of shaping US culture, science, and commerce. Today, HealFast’s Medical Team wants to shine a light and share a word on a few frequently unsung trailblazers and their contributions to the medical industry.

The individuals below not only helped to bring positive and inclusive change, but also advanced medical knowledge and advancements that shaped healthcare today.

To honor the achievements of African American medical field trailblazers, here are five of many notable men and women who deserve high recognitions and regards!

Rebecca Crumpler - 1864
Deep-rooted prejudice didn’t stop Dr. Rebecca Crumpler from being the first African American woman to earn a medical degree and publish a medical textbook. She worked with missionary groups, cared for and treated freed slaves who didn’t have access to healthcare.

Daniel Hale Williams - 1891
He is the founder of Provident Hospital, the first black-owned infirmary to have interracial healthcare workers and patients. This was during a time when discrimination was still rampant and black people were refused hospital admission or jobs in the medical field. He is also known for performing the first successful open-heart surgery.

Jane C. Wright - 1952
Dr. Jane Wright has made significant contributions to the development of chemotherapy. She pioneered an innovative technique of testing drug effects on patient tissue rather than lab mice. Her passion for the medical field started with her father—Dr. Louis Right—one of the first African American Harvard Medical School graduates.

Charles R. Drew - 1940
Charles broke ground when he discovered that plasma can be stored for a longer time and eventually worked to refine techniques on blood storage. As director of the first blood bank in Britain, he was able to save thousands of lives during World War II.

Joycelyn Elders - 1993
She is the first African American and the second woman to head the U.S. Public Health Service and be appointed as Surgeon General. She was a key member in Bill Clinton’s efforts to systematize the health care system and promote public health solutions that may have been considered unconventional during that period.


As physicians, the hard work and ingenuity of these individuals are what inspires us to continue learning and progressing our expertise. Pursuing their passion in medicine despite the challenges of social norms back then is no easy feat. Thank you for showing us what is possible with undying determination.


 
Sincerely,

The HealFast Team

 
 
 
 
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