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Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán was born and received his primary and secondary schooling in Veracruz, where there was a strong African influence, before studying medicine in Mexico City. In the 1920s and 1930s intellectuals such as José Vasconcelos undertook pioneering studies of Indians in Mexico, whose culture and history had largely been viewed with disdain until then. The studies resurrected a degree of interest in and dignity for Indian heritage. Although Vasconcelos argued that much of indigenous culture should be subsumed in a larger Mexican culture, Aguirre Beltrán believed that indigenous cultures were worthy of study for their own sake. After graduating from the University of Mexico with a medical degree, Aguirre Beltrán returned to Veracruz, where he held a post in public health that further sparked his interest in Indian ethnicity and history. In 1940 he published two studies on the ethnohistory of colonial and precolonial Indians in ...

Article

Togarma Rodriguez

was born on 6 July 1919 in San Pedro de Macorís to Eduardo Maturino Charles and Alicia Dunlop. At the age of 21, he married Luz del Carmen Vizcaino, his wife until his death sixty-seven years later. The couple had six children: Carmen Mireya, Nelson Eduardo, Eduardo Aníbal, Mirtha Gladys, Minerva, and Altagracia.

He completed his secondary education at Santo Domingo’s old Escuela Normal and later enrolled in the Universidad de Santo Domingo, where in 1946 he graduated with a medical degree as part of a larger cadre of talented peers who were responsible for the advancement of medical sciences in the Dominican Republic. Among them were Mariano Lebrón Saviñón, Mario Fernández Mena, Simón Hoffiz, Adolfo Pérez González, Juan Read Encarnación, Julio César García, Napoleón Perdomo, and Jaime Acosta Torres.

Charles Dunlop believed in serving his people and making his medical skills available to every Dominican irrespective of means He ...

Article

Miguel Gonzalez Perez

was born in Bilwaskarma, in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region, on 10 November 1947. She is best known for the leading role she played in promoting the peace negotiation process that in 1986 ended a ten-year military conflict that pitted the FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or Sandinista National Liberation Front) revolutionary government against the Miskito indigenous rebels who were struggling for autonomy along the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast. She is also an international advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Cunningham grew up in Waspam the capital city of the Wangki River region near the border with Honduras which is considered the motherland of the Miskito people She was born to Nester Judith Kain Nelson and Wilfred Bill Cunningham Davis both from Pearl Lagoon on the southern part of the Caribbean coast She grew up in a working class family of mixed cultural heritage of Miskito African and ...

Article

David Alan Rego

was born in Glasgow, Scotland, at St. Mary’s Hospital for Women, the same institution where his Jamaican-born mother was pursuing studies as a nurse-midwife. Upon completion of her studies in 1967, Carmen Fenton returned to Jamaica with her young son Kevin, reuniting with her husband, Sydney, a high school chemistry teacher and later principal at Kingston’s Excelsior High School. Kevin’s siblings are Peter, a physician; Kim, a mathematics lecturer; and Keisha, a business-woman.

Kevin Fenton attended high school at Wolmer’s Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica. After graduating from Wolmer’s, he enrolled at the University of the West Indies (UWI) as a computer science major, only to transfer to the Faculty of Medicine in 1985. He was elected class president in 1985 and 1986, and in 1987 he was elected vice president of the UWI Medical Student’s Association. Following graduation with honors from medical school in 1990 ...

Article

was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, on 17 February 1920. He was the eldest of two children. His father was a building contractor. He attended Combermere School in St. Michael, Barbados, where he obtained a classics-based education including Latin, Greek, and English literature at which he excelled. It was later, while working in a chemist’s shop, that Franklin applied to study medicine in England. Barbados was still a British colony, and it would have been a more obvious choice to study in the United Kingdom than at an American university.

As he studied no sciences at school in Barbados, Franklin had to spend a preliminary year at Chelsea Polytechnic in London studying biology, chemistry, and physics before taking his place at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School in October 1941 During World War II Franklin like most London based medical students at this time helped out with air raid casualties ...

Article

Candace M. Keller

Malian government minister, physician, novelist, poet, and political activist, was born in Koulikoro, Mali. By 1936 Gologo had entered the École Régionale de Bamako in the capital city and, at the age of fourteen, had enrolled at the famous high school École Terrasson de Fougères. In 1941 he moved to Senegal to continue his education at the École Normale William Ponty. Seven years later he was conscripted into the Tirailleurs Sénégalais and received his doctoral degree in medicine from the École de Médecine de Dakar. The following year he was released from military service to practice medicine for the administration in Mali—first in Bamako and later in Kati, Sikasso, Douentza, and Gourma-Rharous.

In 1953 Gologo was employed as a physician for the Office du Niger While there he organized workers to join labor unions under the Union Soudanais US a branch of the pan French West African political organ ...

Article

Herbert Stern

was born in Santo Domingo to Ulises Heureaux (1845–1899), president of the Dominican Republic, and Rosa Pons Rodriguez, the daughter of a physician, Eusebio Pons. As her parents did not marry, Heureaux’s birth was not listed in the official records from the time. Consequently, it is not clear exactly when she was born, although scholars generally agree on the year 1887. After Evangelina Rodriguez Perozo, Heureaux was the second Dominican woman to receive a medical degree, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from the University of Santo Domingo on 1 April 1922.

Heureaux completed her training as a free student meaning a student not obligated to attend lectures only to pass the necessary exams At that time the university was closed and the institution that supervised her examinations was the Instituto Profesional During her studies she interned at the Hospital Militar Military Hospital ...

Article

Frédéric Grah Mel

first president of the Ivory Coast, was born in Yamoussoukro, the country’s current political capital. His father was an unknown gold washer whose name, Houphouët, means “filth.” In the Baoulé tribe, this type of name is given to the widower of a woman who has lost several children in the hope that death will not be interested in a piece of rubbish. Through his mother he was descended from a family of traditional chiefs. The name Boigny comes from his mother’s family and means “ram.” In December 1945, when he was going to Paris for the first time as a member of the French Parliament, he announced that he would be henceforth Houphouët-Boigny, which meant that he would be a fighting deputy.

Houphouët’s official date of birth is 18 October 1905 but it is a date that has been entirely constructed Soothsayers consulted before his birth predicted that ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

Félix Houphouët-Boigny was the first president of the Côte d’Ivoire. Many people credit his political acumen and skillful leadership for the achievement of stability and economic prosperity in the country. Born in Yamoussoukro, the son of a Baule chief, HouphouËt-Boigny attended the prestigious école Normale William Ponty and the école de Médicine et de Pharmacie, both in Dakar, Senegal. After graduating in 1925, he practiced medicine and, at the same time, ran a coffee plantation. In 1940 he was appointed the canton chief of his family s home district he subsequently turned his attention to politics especially as they affected the Baule coffee farmers Confronted by the racist policies of the colonial government HouphouËt Boigny organized fellow planters into the Syndicat Agricole Africain SAA to protest the colonial administration s race based crop prices and use of forced labor which only benefited European farmers Although the ...

Article

Caitlyn Bolton

physician and rebel leader of the Justice and Equality Movement in Darfur, Sudan, was born in Tine near the Sudanese border with Chad. He belonged to the Kobe branch of the Zaghawa ethnic group (the Angu clan and Geyla sub-clan) and was a descendent of Zaghawa sultans on both sides of his family.

In the early 1980s Ibrahim studied medicine at the University of Gezira in central Sudan, where he was the leader of the Islamist student movement al-ʿittijah al-ʿislami (the Islamic Orientation), which was affiliated with the Sudanese Muslim Brothers. The Muslim Brothers, led by Dr. Hasan al-Turabi and recast as the National Islamic Front (NIF), covertly participated in the 1989 coup d’état that brought Brigadier ʿUmar al-Bashir into power. Ibrahim supported al-Bashir’s “Salvation Revolution” and was closely involved in the Islamist suppression of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army incursion into Darfur from the south in 1991 He ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Chadian activist and doctor, was born in the town of Doba, located in the southern Chadian province of Logone Orientale on 19 December 1960. Her father, Jean Kodindo Demba, was a government official in a number of different provinces under the authoritarian regime of Parti Progressiste Tchadien (Chadian Progressive Party; PPT) leader François Tombalbaye from 1960 to 1975. Before independence in 1960 he had been a low ranking official and a supporter of Ahmed Koulamallah s moderate Mouvement socialiste africain MSA African Socialist Movement party Kodindo had four brothers and sisters by the same parents as well as over fifteen other siblings born of her father and his other wives Her father s relative affluence as well as his travels to West Africa and France had inspired him to send Kodindo and his other children to school Even though her father refused to join the PPT he ...

Article

Salvador Suazo

the first Honduran Garifuna medical doctor to graduate from the National Honduran Autonomous University, political leader associated with the Liberal Party, and defender of human rights in the 1970s and early 1980s. He was an iconic and versatile man born in the Garifuna community of Corozal, 8 kilometers from the city of La Ceiba, home of the Standard Fruit Company, a US banana-exporting enterprise then competing with the United Fruit Company in Honduras. His parents were Clemente Lacayo Arriola and Maria Luisa Sanchez Caballero. When his mother died, Lacayo moved to Limón, where he spent his childhood with his grandparents Anacleto Lacayo and Trinidad Arriola.

After finishing primary school, in 1939 Lacayo returned to La Ceiba to continue his secondary schooling He asked Justo Spilbury director of the Instituto Manuel Bonilla to allow him to study in exchange for sweeping the school facilities Spilbury was shocked because at that ...

Article

Jonathan Sadowsky

Nigerian physician and educator who influenced the development of medicine and psychiatry in Africa and beyond, was born in Abeokuta, in southwest Nigeria. After earning a degree in medicine at the University of Birmingham in England, he studied psychiatry at the University of London. Returning to Nigeria, he became director of the Abeokuta’s Aro Mental Hospital in 1954. Although there had been purely custodial “lunatic asylums” in Nigeria since the early twentieth century, starting in the 1930s, the British colonial government began plans for a modern, curative psychiatric hospital in Lambo’s hometown. These plans were long delayed, as the government cited budgetary limitations, but the plans were being put into action when Lambo returned to Nigeria in the 1950s. When Lambo was named director of the hospital, the physical plant was not yet completed.

The treatment plans for Aro were to use the therapies then in use in Western ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

politician and doctor, was born on 4 February 1959 in Bafoulabé, a town in the Malian region of Kayes to a father who was a civil servant. Little is known of his early family life, but he learned French, Bambara, and the Soninké languages as he grew up. Soninké was not his first language, but his father worked in regions of Mali where it was commonly spoken. Mariko attended secondary school at Dioila in southwest Mali from 1976 to 1977, and then he completed his secondary education at the public secondary school at Badalabougou, near the capital, Bamako, in 1979. During his days in secondary school, he had already become an activist as part of the Union des Élèves Étudiants du Mali (UNEEM), and he joined the UNEEM coordinating bureau in 1979 During the 1980s he became a medical student in Bamako Like many Malians Mariko ...

Article

Luis Gonçalves

Angolan doctor, writer, and first president of independent Angola from 1975 to 1979, was born António Agostinho Neto in Kaxicane, in the county of Icolo e Bengo, near Luanda. His father was a pastor of an American mission, and his mother was a teacher. He went to school in Luanda, where he finished high school in 1944. He then went to Portugal, where he studied medicine at the prestigious University of Coimbra. It is there that he started his anticolonial activities. In 1947 he was a founding member of the movement of young Angolan intellectuals, “Let’s Discover Angola.” In the following year he received a study grant from the American Methodists, and he transferred to the University of Lisbon.

In 1950 Neto was arrested in Lisbon by the Portuguese political police PIDE Polícia de Intervenção e Defesa do Estado while he was collecting signatures for the World ...

Article

Eric Young

The son of a Methodist minister, António Agostinho Neto received his high school education in Luanda. In 1947, after spending three years in the government health service, Neto traveled to Portugal to attend medical school on a Methodist church scholarship. While there he met his Portuguese wife, Maria Eugénia da Silva, and other students from Portuguese Africa, including future nationalist leaders Amílcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau and Eduardo Mondlane of Mozambique. He also became involved in the youth organization of the Portuguese opposition movement. Between 1952 and 1962, during various stays in prison for his political activity, Neto began writing poetry. The publication of his nationalist poetry and his subsequent detention delayed his graduation from medical school until 1958.

By mid 1957 he had joined the recently formed opposition group the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola MPLA He fit in well with the MPLA s educated ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Cameroonian doctor and medical researcher, was born on 19 February 1926 in the coastal Cameroonian city of Buea. This region became a part of the country governed by the United Kingdom after Germany lost the colony in World War I. Ngu attended primary school at the Government School in Bamenda and secondary school in Sasse, a town in southwestern Cameroon. He developed an interest in medicine early in life, and he became convinced that he could become a doctor despite the lack of university education opportunities in his homeland. In 1944, Ngu won a prestigious scholarship to attend the Government College in Ibadan, Nigeria. There, he excelled in his studies. In 1948 Ngu demonstrated his intellectual prowess by obtaining a scholarship to study medicine in Ibadan since the public university there had a medical school affiliated with the University of London He went to England to finish his ...

Article

Kia Caldwell

was born Maria de Fátima Oliveira on 20 September 1953. She was born in Graça Aranha, Maranhão, Brazil, to a black mother and a white father. Her father, Gildino Rodrigues de Oliveira Minha, was the owner of a small variety store. Her mother, Arcângela de Sousa Oliveira, was a seamstress. She moved to São Luís, the capital of the Brazilian state of Maranhão, at 15 years of age to attend the Universidade Federal de Maranhão (UFMA, Federal University of Maranhão), receiving her undergraduate degree in medicine in 1978. She married in 1975 and has three biological children: two daughters and one son. She also adopted one son and one daughter. Her first husband died in 1985; she remarried in 1986.

Oliveira worked as a physician in private practice in Maranhão as well as in hospitals in the cities of Imperatriz São Paulo and Belo Horizonte She ...

Article

Leyla Keough

At a time when prejudice and even violence against blacks was common in Great Britain, David Thomas pitt spoke out for the unrepresented black immigrant community. In his obituary for Pitt in the Guardian in 1994, black British journalist Mike Phillips wrote: “At that point, Dr. Pitt was the only black person who figured in the public and political life of the country; and as such, if only by default, when he spoke, he spoke for us.”

Born on the island of Grenada in the West Indies, David Pitt attended Grenada Boys' Secondary school and was raised a devout Roman Catholic. In 1932 he won Grenada's only overseas scholarship to attend the prestigious medical school at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. After graduating with honors, he returned to the West Indies in 1938 and practiced medicine in Saint Vincent and Trinidad There he met and ...

Article

Curtis Jacobs

was born at Hampstead, Grenada, on 3 October 1913. He received his primary education at St. David’s Roman Catholic School before attending the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School, from which he won the Island Scholarship of 1932 to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

His early social consciousness was stimulated by T. A. Marryshow, advocate of a West Indian federation and self-government. At Edinburgh, Pitt was “president of almost everything”—the West Indian Student’s Union and Cosmopolitan Club; first junior president of the Students Representative Council; member of the Management Committee of the Students’ Union. He also mounted an unsuccessful run for the presidency of the Students’ Union in 1937. In 1936 Pitt joined the British Labour Party.

After graduating with honors in 1938 Pitt returned to the Caribbean and briefly practiced medicine in St Vincent before moving to Trinidad and Tobago where he met Dorothy Alleyne whom ...