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 Josie Wells is rarely listed in published and unpublished works, she has taken a place in history for her pioneer work as an African American woman physician and for her leadership post as superintendent at Meharry's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.