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African American Pioneers in Health Care

William Edward Allen, Jr.

William Edward Allen, Jr. was born August 14, 1903, in Pensacola, Florida, just eight years after the x-ray was discovered. As a radiologist, researcher, professor, and philanthropist, Dr. Allen was a significant influence in the field of radiology during its development in the 1930s. He focused his skills on shaping radiology as a science and as a profession and on increasing access to education and scientific careers for other African Americans.

Dr. Allen attended Howard University and earned his B.S. degree in 1927 and his M.D. in 1930. By the time he completed his residency at City Hospital No. 2 in St. Louis, he had organized one of the nation's first approved training schools for African American x-ray technicians at St. Mary's Infirmary.

In 1935, one year after the American Board of Radiology examinations were established, he became the first African American certified x-ray technician. By the late 1930s Allen had established one of the first approved residencies in radiology for minorities. He also became a founding member of the National Medical Association's Commission on X-Ray and Radium.

Several months before the United States entered World War II, Allen volunteered for active military service. However, since there was no place in the segregated military for a African American radiologist, he accepted assignment as a battalion surgeon. When a military hospital staffed by African American medical officers was established at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, Allen became its chief of x-ray service, training medical officers. He also established the first and only African American Women's Army Corps School for x-ray technologists. In 1945 he was elected to fellowship in the American College of Radiology.

After the war, Dr. Allen returned to Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis and established yet another school for x-ray technologists, which eventually gained international recognition. In 1949 the National Medical Association (NMA) radiology section was born, and Allen served as its first chairman.

Dr. Allen's career followed the emerging fields of radiology and radiation oncology with his later research focused on nuclear medicine and radiation therapy in prostate tumors and cervical cancer.

Dr. Allen taught for many years at St. Louis University Medical School and gained the rank of emeritus professor at the Washington University School of Medicine. He has developed scholarships for students from Haiti, Nigeria, Liberia, and South Africa to study radiology.

The American College of Radiology presented Dr. Allen with a gold medal in 1974. He has received the highest awards available from institutions such as Homer G. Phillips Hospital, Howard University, the St. Louis Chapter of the NAACP, the American Cancer Society, and the National Medical Association.

Keith Lanier Black

Born in 1957 in Tuskegee, Alabama, Dr. Keith Lanier Black is an internationally recognized neurosurgeon who is well known and respected for successfully operating on brain tumors that many other neurosurgeons deem inoperable. Dr. Black performs more than 200 brain tumor operations annually.

Dr. Black's father was principal of a segregated elementary school in Auburn, Alabama, who encouraged his son's interest in science. Dr. Black credits his father with giving him and his siblings an attitude that they can accomplish anything. By the time Dr. Black reached high-school age, he was performing organ transplants and heart-valve replacements on dogs. At age 17, Dr. Black earned the Westinghouse Science Award for publishing his first scientific paper, a paper on the damage done to red blood cells in patients with heart-valve replacements.

Dr. Black earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in six years. He completed his internship in general surgery and his residency in neurological surgery at the University of Michigan Medical Center. Dr. Black is also a researcher and teacher and is well known for his groundbreaking research. He has been a pioneer in research related to techniques that allow chemotherapeutic drugs to be delivered directly into cancerous brain tumors.

In addition, he has conducted progressive research to develop a vaccine to enhance the body's immune response to brain tumors. In 1997, Dr. Black joined Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as director of the Neurosurgical Institute. He continues to work toward his long-term goal of finding a true cure for brain cancer.

Lonnie Robert Bristow
First African American President of the American Medical Association

Born in 1930 in New York City, Dr. Lonnie Robert Bristow was a devoted medical practitioner profoundly concerned with human dignity, patient care, affordable health care for all Americans, and diversity in the nation's medical academies.

Dr. Lonnie Robert Bristow has become widely known as the first African American president of the American Medical Association (AMA) and was also the first African American president of the American Society of Internal Medicine in 1981. He was the first African American member and first African American chair of the AMA's Board of Trustees.

Dr. Bristow was the son of a Baptist minister and a nurse. He grew up in Harlem and his mother often included him in her activities as a student nurse. His early experiences around Sydenham Hospital, where his mother worked along side Jewish, African American and White doctors and nurses, inspired Bristow to pursue medicine and, later, also affected his attitude about multiculturalism and the importance of being well qualified professionally regardless of race.

Dr. Bristow studied at Morehouse College in Atlanta from 1947 to 1949, and was an acquaintance of Martin Luther King Jr. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1949 to 1950, and then became a Naval Reservist from 1950 to 1956. Bristow entered the City College of New York where, despite success as a quarterback, he graduated with a B.S in 1953 and entered New York University College of Medicine.

He earned an M.D. in 1957 and worked a rotating internship at San Francisco City and County Hospital. From 1959 to 1960, Bristow served other residencies in the Veteran's Administration Hospital in San Francisco and later at Francis Delafield Hospital (Columbia University Service) in New York City and at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in the Bronx in 1961.

Dr. Bristow's primary concern was for improving the quality of life for his patients. He was also on the staff of Brookside Hospital in San Pablo. In addition to a successful medical practice as an internist, Bristow has been highly active in medical societies which brought him wide recognition.

Bristow's affiliation with the AMA began when he joined the association in California after he completed his internship in 1958 - ten years before the AMA passed a non-discrimination policy. This was as important for Bristow as it was for the AMA. The AMA's discriminatory practices had inspired a group of African American physicians to found their own medical organization in 1895, the National Medical Association.

For 20 years Bristow held a series of posts and served in the AMA and, in 1993 he achieved another first when he was elected chairman of the board. In 1985, he was the first African American elected to the Board of Trustees where he became a leader in the AMA's position for health care reform.

He has used his position as president and chief spokesman of the 300,000-member organization America's largest leading organization for doctors to inspire African American medical students.

Dr. Bristow has been active in many other medical organization such as the Sickle Cell Committee for the California Department of Health, the National Council of Health Care Technology, Health Care Financing Administration and many, many others.

Widely honored for his work, Dr. Bristow's honors also include honorary Doctor of Science degrees from the Morehouse College School of Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, and the City College of the City University of New York.

Sara Winifred Brown
Educator, Physician, Activist

Sara Winifred Brown, born in 1868 in Winchester, Virginia, was a teacher and a physician who spent her lifetime helping others to help themselves. From working as a Red Cross relief worker during a series of floods to becoming the first female trustee of Howard University, Brown devoted much of her life to the public service of others.

Brown attended Virginia's all-Black Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute (now Hampton University), graduating with honors. She went on to teach English at the District of Columbia Normal School, though her quest for knowledge soon got the better of her.

In 1894, Brown took a leave of absence to attend Cornell University, where she got involved with many organizations, including the Jugtae, a society for those interested in biology. Brown graduated from Cornell with an A.B. degree in 1897, then returned to Washington to resume her teaching career but now as a biology teacher.

Dr. Brown enrolled at Howard University to study medicine, receiving her M.D. in 1904. She then went into practice part-time and continued her studies. Thirsting for further knowledge, Brown studied sociology and anthropology under Columbia University professors and during a trip to Europe attending lectures at Sorbonne.

From 1908 to 1911, Dr. Brown assisted Howard University's medical department, lecturing on gynecology. She made history on June 3, 1924, when the university elected her to its board, making Brown the first female alumni trustee of Howard, a position she held until her death in 1948.

Dr. Brown also gave extensively of herself, helping many local and national organizations such as the Women's War Council, which appointed her one of 50 female physicians in its "Flying Squadron." The American Red Cross drafted her as a relief worker in Mississippi and Louisiana following severe flooding in 1927. In 1930, Dr. Brown was named as a physician to accompany a Gold Star Mothers pilgrimage to France.

Ben Solomon Carson

Benjamin Solomon Carson was born in 1951 in Detroit, Michigan, and endured a childhood of cruelty and poverty. His mother raised Dr. Solomon and his brother by herself and he performed poorly as a student.

With his mother's intervention and despite an admittedly violent temper and the racism in his high school, Dr. Carson graduated at the top of his class and enrolled at Yale University where he earned his B.A. in 1973. He then enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan and earned his medical degree in 1977 and moved with his wife Maryland.

Dr. Carson became a resident at Johns Hopkins University and by 1982 was the chief resident in neurosurgery.

In 1983, Carson was invited to work at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, Australia, where, because of a shortage of doctors in the country, he gained several years' worth of experience in a short time.

In 1985, while in his early 30s, Dr. Carson became director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Some of Dr. Carson's achievements include successfully detaching twins conjoined at the head in 1987 and his groundbreaking surgery on a twin suffering from an abnormal expansion of the head - conducted while the baby was still in the mother's uterus. Dr. Carson has performed operations which have greatly expanded scientific knowledge of the brain and its functions.

Today, Dr. Carson performs 500 operations a year, three times as many as most neurosurgeons, a fact for which he credits his very, very efficient staff.

Dr. Carson has also become a well-known inspirational writer and speaker, using his career, with its a triumph over circumstances, as a role model and source of inspiration. His spirit and medical expertise have made him the surgeon of choice for parents with children suffering rare neurological conditions.

Joycelyn Elders
Physician and Surgeon General of the United States

Joycelyn Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones in Schaal, Arkansas on August 13, 1933. In college, she changed her name to Minnie Joycelyn Lee (later using just Joycelyn). In 1952, she received her B.A. in biology from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. After working as a nurse's aid in a Veterans Administration hospital in Milwaukee for a period, she joined the Army in May, 1953. During her 3 years in the Army, she was trained as a physical therapist. She then attended the University of Arkansas Medical School, where she obtained her M.D. degree in 1960. After completing an internship at the University of Minnesota Hospital and a residency in pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical Center, Elders earned an M.S. in Biochemistry in 1967.

Elders then received a National Institutes of Health career development award, also serving as assistant professor in pediatrics at the University of Arkansas Medical Center from 1967. She was promoted to associate professor in 1971 and professor in 1976. Her research interests focused on endocrinology, and she received certification as a pediatric endocrinologist in 1978. She became an expert on childhood sexual development.

In 1987, Elders was appointed Director of the Arkansas Department of Health by then-Governor Bill Clinton. Her accomplishments in this position included a ten-fold increase in the number of early childhood screenings annually and almost a doubling of the immunization rate for two-year-olds in Arkansas. In 1992, she was elected President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers.

Elders became Surgeon General of the Public Health Service on September 8, 1993, appointed by President Clinton. She was the first African American to serve in the position. As Surgeon General, Elders argued the case for universal health coverage, and was a spokesperson for President Clinton's health care reform effort. She was a strong advocate for comprehensive health education, including sex education, in schools.

Solomon Carter Fuller
First Black Psychiatrist in U.S.

Solomon Carter Fuller, born in 1872 in Monrovia, Liberia, was the nation's first African American psychiatrist and a neurologist. He played a key role in the development of psychiatry in the 1900s and is well known for his research on dementia.

Dr. Fuller is credited with helping make the United States the leader in psychiatry that it is today. In addition, as a professor at Boston University School of Medicine for more than 30 years, he helped train the next generation of psychiatrists.

Dr. Fuller's grandfather had been a slave in Virginia who purchased his freedom and moved his family to Liberia. At the age of 17, Dr. Fuller left Liberia to attend Livingstone College in North Carolina where he graduated in 1893. He then studied medicine at Long Island College Hospital, and later transferred to Boston University School of Medicine where he received his M.D. in 1897.

Upon graduation, Fuller accepted a position as intern and official helper in the pathology lab at Westborough State Hospital in Massachusetts where he worked as pathologist for 22 years. At the same time that he was beginning his career in medicine, Dr. Fuller also became a member of the medical faculty at Boston University School of Medicine and taught for 34 years eventually becoming emeritus professor of neurology.

Dr. Fuller took an interest in mental health and took advanced courses at the Carnegie Laboratory in New York. He then went to Europe in 1904, studying under Emil Kraepelin and Alois Alzheimer, professors at the University of Munich's psychiatric clinic.

Once back in the United States, Fuller continued his work at Westborough and BUSM. Fuller became known for his work on Alzheimer's disease and on the organic causes of disorders such as schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis.

Fuller helped develop the neuropsychiatric unit at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, personally training the doctors who went on to head the department. Fuller's knowledge of the venereal disease, syphilis later helped these doctors diagnose syphilis in Black World War II veterans who had been misdiagnosed with behavioral disorders.

Today, in recognition of Dr. Fuller's achievements, the mental health facility at Boston University is now officially known as the Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller Mental Health Center. And in 1972, the American Psychiatric Association and the Black Psychiatrists of America established the Solomon Carter Fuller Institute.

Lucille Constance Gunning

Born in 1922 in New York City, Lucille Constance Gunning is a pediatrician who has made important advances in rehabilitating children with disabilities, and in establishing care facilities for children with chronic health problems.

Dr. Gunning grew up in Jamaica, and at age five, was inspired to become a pediatrician. Her aunt, a midwife, was helping with a delivery that went badly. The doctor arrived too late and the baby died. Years later, she would recall the incident remembering everyone's faith that the doctor would have saved the baby.

Dr. Gunning entered New York University and received her bachelor's degree in 1945 and her medical degree in 1949 from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.

In 1971, Dr. Gunning began working at the Harlem Hospital Center, became chief of pediatric rehabilitation and created a developmental center for children with Down's Syndrome.

Beginning in 1983, she worked for the state of New York as the deputy director of medical services for the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. In the early 1990s, Dr. Gunning began a position supervising health physicians for school districts in Manhattan.

Robert Stewart Jason Physician and Pathologist

Robert Stewart Jason, born in 1901 in Puerto Rico, was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in pathology. Jason had a medical degree as well and served as head of the department of pathology at Howard University and later as dean of its College of Medicine.

Dr. Jason was the son of Presbyterian missionary who was originally from Maryland, and his missionary wife. After graduating from the Polytechnic Institute of San German, Puerto Rico, Jason entered Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and received his B.A. degree in 1924. He then attended Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., and was awarded his M.D. degree in 1928.

In 1929 he completed his internship at Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C., and was awarded a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago in 1932.

As a pathologist, he was concerned with the structural and functional changes in cells, tissues, and organs caused by disease, and he focused specifically during his research career on the pathology of syphilis and tuberculosis.

Dr. Jason played in integral role in the growth and development of Howard's College of Medicine, rising from assistant professor to dean in his more than 35 years at the university. During his last years at Howard, he was coordinator for design and planning of its new University Hospital. In recognition of his many contributions to the university, the Department of Pathology at Howard's College of Medicine established in 1967 the Robert S. Jason Award in Pathology.

Dr. Jason died of Alzheimer's disease at his home in New York City on April 6, 1984. By the time of his death, Dr. Jason held many professional appointments with the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration and other large institutions. He also received several honors and awards during his long career including two honorary doctorates from Howard University, the Professional Achievement Award from the University of Chicago Alumni Association and the Distinguished Service Award of the National Medical Association.

John B. Johnson, Jr.

John B. Johnson, Jr. was born in 1908 in Bessemer, Alabama, and became one of the first African American physicians to become department chairman of the Howard University Medical College. Dr. Johnson was also a pioneer in using angiocardiography and cardiac catheterization as diagnostic tools. He was also part of a successful effort in 1954 to bring equal opportunity to physicians in Washington, D.C., becoming one of two African American physicians appointed to Georgetown University Hospital's staff.

Dr. Johnson went to high school at Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, and then attended Oberlin College in Ohio, where he earned his degree in 1931. He then went Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned his M.D. in 1935.

After serving his internship at Cleveland City Hospital, Dr. Johnson spent his career at Howard University starting in 1936. Dr. Johnson ended his career as the director of its Division of Cardiology. Dr. Johnson also studied hypertension and its disproportionate effects on African Americans. As an educator, Johnson was described as an excellent teacher with infectious energy and enthusiasm whose lectures were both dramatic and exciting, as well as an individual who drove himself hard. He received many awards and, after his retirement, the Howard University College of Medicine voted unanimously to name a chair after him, the John Beauregard Johnson Professor of Medicine.

Joseph Lealand Johnson
Physiologist and Physician

Joseph Lealand Johnson was born in Philadelphia, Penn., in 1895. A son of former slaves, he became only the second African American to earn both a Ph.D. and an M.D. degree and eventually became dean of the Howard University Medical School and chairman of its Department of Physiology.

It was under his guidance and direction that Howard's physiology department was completely revamped, renovated, and redirected into a modern facility where meaningful research could take place. In 1947 Dr. Johnson became dean and remained in that position until 1955 when he returned to full-time teaching and research in physiology. He retired in 1971.

By the time Dr. Johnson died in 1991, he had been a member of the board of directors of the National Medical Association and held memberships in the, NAACP, AMA, American Physiology Society, and many others.

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.

Arnold Hamilton Maloney
Physician and Pharmacologist

Arnold Hamilton Maloney was born in Trinidad in 1888 and became a highly respected pharmacologist who discovered an antidote for barbiturate poisoning. Dr. Maloney became the first African American professor of pharmacology in the nation and only the second person of African descent to obtain both a medical degree and a doctorate of philosophy in the United States.

Dr. Maloney studied at Naparima College in Trinidad, which is affiliated with Cambridge University, England, earning his bachelor's degree in 1909. He then immigrated to the United States and attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

In 1910, he received his master's degree from Columbia University and a B.S. in theology from the General Theological Seminary, New York, in 1912. He began his ministry at age 23 with the distinction of being the youngest minister in the Protestant Episcopal Church.

After practicing for several years, Maloney felt that the Episcopal Church was neglecting young Black men. A suggestion he made prompted the church to establish St. Augustine in Raleigh, North Carolina, as a college for Black youth.

After leaving the ministry, Maloney became a professor of psychology at Wilberforce University in Ohio. He continued his education entering Indiana University School of Medicine in 1925, graduating with a medical degree in 1929. He then attended the University of Wisconsin, where he engaged in research in pharmacology, earning a doctorate in this field in 1931.

Upon accepting a position at Howard University in the same year, he also became the first African American professor of pharmacology in the United States.

From 1931 until 1953, Maloney worked in the Department of Pharmacology at Howard University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. eventually becoming head of the department.

Dr. Maloney's research involved several areas of pharmacology, but his most important work was the discovery of an antidote for barbiturate overdose. Dr. Maloney determined that administering picrotoxin (a potentially lethal poison) quickly reversed these symptoms. His first paper on this subject was published in 1931.

Dr. Maloney was a member of many societies and several medical associations, including the American Negro Academy, American Academy of Political Sciences and the National Medical Association. Maloney died in Washington, D.C., on August 8, 1955.

John Sweat Rock
Physician, Dentist and Lawyer

Born in 1825 in Salem, New Jersey, John Sweat Rock was a physician, dentist and a lawyer in an era when most African Americans were held in bondage.

The son of free blacks, Dr. John Sweat Rock was one of the first African American men to earn an M.D. in the United States. Dr. Rock apprenticed to two Salem-based White medical doctors, Dr. Shaw and Dr. Gibson and with a dentist, Dr. U. Hubbard. He opened his own dentistry practice in 1850 in Philadelphia and was highly skilled at making dentures. Dr. Rock was awarded his M.D. in 1852 or 1853.

Dr. Rock moved to Boston where he had both a medical and a dental practice. He was given the honor of being one of the first African Americans admitted to the Massachusetts Medical Society and he gave medical aid to fugitive slaves as they passed through Boston on the Underground Railroad.

Unfortunately, because of poor health, Dr. Rock was forced to abandon his medical practices. As a result, Dr. Rock began a study of law and passed the bar in Massachusetts in 1861 and went on to practice law in Massachusetts and in Washington, D.C. On February 1, 1865, Rock was granted admittance to argue cases in front of the United States Supreme Court, the first African American to receive this honor. Dr. Rock was also one of the first African Americans to be invited and received on the floor of the House of Representatives.

By the time Dr. Rock died from tuberculosis in December, 1866, he had spent a great portion of his life arguing for equality for African Americans and was a famous orator on the subject.

David Satcher
Physician and Surgeon General of the United States

Dr. David Satcher was the 16th Surgeon General of the United States. He was sworn in on February 13, 1998, and served a 4-year term.

Dr. Satcher served simultaneously in the positions of Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary for Health from February 1998 through January 2001. He also held the posts of Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry from 1993 to 1998.

Dr. Satcher currently is a fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation. In the fall of 2002, he will assume the post of director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Before joining the Administration, he was President of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, from 1982 to 1993.

Dr. Satcher served as professor and Chairman of the Department of Community Medicine and Family Practice at Morehouse School of Medicine from 1979 to 1982. He is a former faculty member of the UCLA School of Medicine and Public Health and the King-Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he developed and chaired the King-Drew Department of Family Medicine. From 1977 to 1979, he served as the Interim Dean of the Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School, during which time, he negotiated the agreement with UCLA School of Medicine and the Board of Regents that led to a medical education program at King-Drew. He also directed the King-Drew Sickle Cell Research Center for six years.

Dr. Satcher is a former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and Macy Faculty Fellow. He is the recipient of many honorary degrees and numerous distinguished honors, including top awards from the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and Ebony magazine. In 1995, he received the Breslow Award in Public Health and in 1997 the New York Academy of Medicine Lifetime Achievement Award. Earlier this year, he received the Bennie Mays Trailblazer Award and the Jimmy and Roslyn Carter Award for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Satcher graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta in 1963 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University in 1970 with election to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He did residency/fellowship training at Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester, UCLA, and King-Drew. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Preventive Medicine, and the American College of Physicians.

Dr. Satcher wanted to be known as the Surgeon General who listened to the American people and who responded with effective programs. His mission was to make public health work for all groups in this Nation. He not only is a champion of promoting healthy lifestyles, he is also an avid jogger and enjoys tennis, gardening, and reading.

Born in Anniston, Alabama, on March 2, 1941, Dr. Satcher and his wife, Nola, have four grown children.

Physician and 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Louis W. Sullivan was born in Atlanta, Ga., on November 3, 1933. The youngest of two sons, Sullivan knew at an early age that he wanted to be a doctor. Following his dream, Sullivan entered Morehouse College's premedical program in 1950 and graduated magna cum laude in 1954. Immediately after graduation, Sullivan entered Boston University Medical School on scholarship. Earning his medical degree in 1958, Sullivan ranked third in his class and was the only graduating African American.

He received a bachelor of science degree, magna cum laude, from Morehouse College in 1954, and earned his medical degree, cum laude, from Boston University in 1958. His internship and medical residency were at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. After a pathology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1960-1961, Dr. Sullivan was a fellow in hematology at the Thorndike Memorial Research Laboratories of Harvard Medical School at Boston City Hospital until 1964.

Following his fellowship, Dr. Sullivan held positions at Harvard Medical School, Seton Hall College of Medicine and the Jersey City Medical Center. In 1967, he founded the Boston University Hematology Service at Boston City Hospital and later was director of the Boston Sickle Cell Center.

In an unprecedented move, Dr. Sullivan left Boston in 1975 to become the founding dean and director of the Medical Education Program at Morehouse College, an historically Black college. During the next few years, Dr. Sullivan and dedicated colleagues developed a curriculum, recruited more staff, and opened its doors to 24 students in 1978. In April 1985, the Morehouse School of Medicine was fully accredited as a four-year medical school.

Dr. Sullivan took a leave of absence from Morehouse to become the 17th Secretary of Health and Human Services. He was sworn in on March 10, 1989. As Secretary, Dr. Sullivan championed vulnerable populations and was a strong advocate for increased medical research pertaining to racial and ethnic minorities.

Since returning to Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Sullivan and the school continue to gain notoriety. The Association of American Medical Colleges ranked Morehouse No. 1 in 1993, 1995 and 1999 among medical schools in the percentage of graduates in primary care practices. In 2000, 75 percent of Morehouse graduates entered primary care residencies, more than four times the national average.

Dr. Sullivan is a true pioneer for African Americans in the field of medicine.

Jose English Wells
Pioneer and Physician

Josie English Wells was born Josie English in 1879 in Holly Springs, Mississippi and went on to become a physician and professor in an era when women of all races were shunned from entering any male-dominated profession.

At the turn of the 20th century, Dr. Wells rose above the obstacles of society, sex and race to become the only woman doctor of any race living in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1904 and remained a leading Nashville physician.

She was the first woman to teach at Meharry Medical College and when she was named superintendent of Meharry's Hubbard Hospital, she was the first woman to hold a position of leadership there.

While the exact dates are unknown, Dr. Wells was general physician for Walden University and superintendent for the nurse training program at Mercy Hospital. Immediately after receiving her medical degree, Dr. Wells established a local medical practice and located one office near Meharry where she treated poor people two afternoons each week and dispensed free medicine to them. She also maintained a second office in Napier Court in downtown Nashville, where her patients were largely African American and White women.

Dr. Wells died on March 20, 1921, in Hubbard Hospital. Although Dr. Josie Wells is rarely listed in published and unpublished works, she has taken a place in history for her pioneer work as an African American woman physician and for her leadership post as superintendent at Meharry's Hubbard Hospital.

Augustus White
Orthopedic Surgeon

Augustus Aaron White III is a surgeon and biomedical engineer and expert on back pain. Dr. White's mechanical studies of the human spine have helped to develop technologies and surgical systems that speed patients' recovery from spinal injuries.

Born in 1936, Dr. White has worked to raise awareness of chronic back pain and how to prevent it throughout his career at both Yale and Harvard Medical Schools as a professor, and at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, where he worked as a surgeon.

Attending Brown University and initially intending to go into psychiatry, Dr. White's career goal was altered when he became interested in sports injuries while he played football for the university. After graduating cum laude from Brown in 1957, he went on to Stanford University where he earned his M.D. in 1961 and started his career as an orthopedic surgeon.

Dr. White served his internship at University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, worked in both San Francisco and New Haven, Connecticut and went on to serve in Vietnam from 1966 to 1968. He achieved the rank of captain in the medical corps and was awarded the Bronze Star.

In 1969 White was awarded a doctorate from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden for his research in the biomechanics of the spine. Dr. White's work has helped to draw attention to back pain, which afflicts nearly 80 percent of Americans between ages 35 and 50. The results of his research on the mechanics of the human spine have had practical applications.

Dr. White has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Martin Luther King, Jr., Medical Achievement Award, the Ebony Magazine Black Achievement Award in 1980, and the William Rogers Award from the Associated Alumni of Brown University.


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