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James McCarthy

Scottish explorer, naturalist, surgeon, and philologist who opened up the Niger region to European trade and influence, was born in Kirkwall, Scotland, the eldest son of a Royal Navy captain, John Baikie. He was educated for a time at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney, but mainly privately, in company with his cousins. He gained a medical degree from Edinburgh University, where he also developed his interest in natural history. In 1848, together with Robert Heddie, he wrote the first part of a published study of the natural history of Orkney, Historia naturalis Orcadensis. In the same year he joined the Royal Navy as an assistant surgeon, serving on no less than five different ships in the Mediterranean before being appointed in the same capacity to Haslar Hospital, Portsmouth, from 1851 to 1854. It was from here in 1854 that through the patronage of the influential Sir Roderick ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

neuropsychiatrist specializing in the biological basis of mental disorders, was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, to Prince Barker and Brunetta (Watson) Barker. As a young teen he immigrated to New York City on the ship Guiana, arriving on 11 September 1911. His mother, who immigrated to New York in 1912, was at the time of the 1920 U.S. Census a fifty‐year‐old widow and private duty laundry worker.

Prince Patanilla Barker graduated from the Bronx's DeWitt Clinton High School in 1915 and earned his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1918. After one year at Cornell University Medical College, Barker transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C., earning his M.D. in 1923. That year he wed Helen L. Furlonge (3 May 1892–19 February 1978 an immigrant from Montserrat Barker interned at Freedmen s Hospital Washington D C and conducted further postgraduate work ...

Article

Audra J. Wolfe

pathologist and geneticist, was born in Washington, D.C., the oldest of six children born to James E. Bowman, a dentist, and Peterson Bowman, a homemaker. Bowman completed his undergraduate and medical school education in Washington, receiving a BS in 1943 and an MD in 1946, both from Howard University. After completing an internship at the Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C. (1946–1947), Bowman moved to St. Luke's Hospital in Chicago for a residency in pathology (1947–1950). It was during his residency that he met his future wife, Barbara Taylor, a Chicago native who was then completing her undergraduate degree at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. The couple married in 1950, the same year that Bowman was made chairman of the department of pathology at Chicago's Provident Hospital, a primarily African American institution (1950–1953).

From 1953 until 1955 ...

Article

Elizabeth D. Schafer

physician, was born in Louisburg, North Carolina, the son of the Reverend Joel Branche and Hanna Shaw. He attended the Mary Potter Academy in Oxford, North Carolina. The Branche home was located near this Presbyterian school; George Branche enjoyed playing on the campus, and he acquired his early education there.

After his high school graduation in 1913, Branche enrolled at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he participated as an athlete. He graduated in 1917 and served in World War I as a master sergeant. After the armistice he focused on medicine as a career. Branche graduated from the Boston University Medical School in 1923, and he was an intern at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital.

While Branche was in medical school federal officials sought a site to establish a hospital for black veterans African American World War I veterans suffered from treatment at inferior hospitals or were neglected ...

Article

Jeannette Elizabeth Brown

biochemist, was born in Corona, Queens, New York, one of three children of Ivan C. Daly and Helen Page. Her father immigrated from the West Indies and received a scholarship from Cornell University to study chemistry; however, he had to drop out because he could not pay his room and board. Forced to abandon his dream, he became a postal worker. Daly's interest in science came from her father's encouragement and the desire to live his dream. Her maternal grandfather had an extensive library, and her mother spent many hours reading to the children. Daly found books about science and scientists, like Paul D. Kruif's Microbe Hunters, most interesting. She graduated from Hunter College High School, a competitive, all-girls public school in Manhattan. Her science teachers encouraged her to study chemistry at the college level.

After graduating Daly attended Queens College in Flushing New York and graduated ...

Article

Spencie Love

Born in Washington, D.C., Charles Drew graduated from McGill University Medical School in Montreal in 1933, ranking second in a class of 137. During a two-year fellowship at Columbia University's medical school (1938–1940), he did research on blood banking, setting up Presbyterian Hospital's first blood bank, and became the first African American to receive the doctor of science degree. Drew served as medical director of the Blood for Britain Project in 1940 and also of a 1941 American Red Cross pilot project involving the mass production of dried plasma. Drew's work proved pivotal to the success of the Red Cross's blood-collection program, a major life-saving agent during World War II. In 1941 Drew became chairman of Howard University's department of surgery and chief surgeon at Freedmen's Hospital, where he worked tirelessly to build Howard's surgical residency program. Between 1941 and 1950 he trained more than half ...

Article

Aaron Myers

Charles Richard Drew became interested in studying blood as a student at McGill University in Montréal, Québec, Canada, during the late 1920s and early 1930s. At that time, medical science had not yet determined how to preserve blood, a dilemma that became Drew's mission. Later, while interning at Presbyterian Hospital in New York, New York, and pursuing a doctorate at Columbia University, Drew discovered that blood plasma, the liquid portion of the blood without cells, can be preserved for long periods of time, unlike whole blood, which deteriorates after a few days in storage. He also found that blood plasma can be substituted for whole blood in transfusions.

In the late 1930s Drew set up an experimental blood bank at Presbyterian Hospital and wrote a thesis entitled “Banked Blood: A Study in Blood Preservation,” which earned him a doctor of science in medicine from Columbia University in 1940 ...

Article

Spencie Love

blood plasma scientist, surgeon, and teacher, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Richard Thomas Drew, a carpet-layer, and Nora Rosella Burrell. Drew adored his hard-working parents and was determined from an early age to emulate them. Drew's parents surrounded their children with the many opportunities available in Washington's growing middle-class black community: excellent segregated schools, solid church and social affiliations, and their own strong example. Drew's father was the sole black member of his union and served as its financial secretary.

Drew graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 1922 and received a medal for best all around athletic performance he also won a scholarship to Amherst College At Amherst he was a star in football and track earning honorable mention as an All American halfback in the eastern division receiving the Howard Hill Mossman Trophy for bringing the greatest athletic ...

Article

Sandra D. Harvey

physician who pioneered the preservation of plasma, the development of the dry plasma technique, and the use of plasma in blood transfusions.

Born in Washington, D.C., to Richard Thomas Drew, a carpet-layer, and Nora Rosella Burrell Drew, a Howard University graduate, Drew grew up in a middle-class community. Known as the “center of black aristocracy,” Washington offered Drew and his family many social and educational opportunities. Drew attended the best segregated college preparatory school in the nation, Dunbar High School. In 1922 he entered Amherst College on an academic scholarship, and in 1926 he graduated a celebrated athlete and scholar.

Lack of funds delayed Drew's entry into medical school. In the interim, he coached and taught biology at Morgan College in Baltimore. In 1928 he enrolled in McGill University's medical school in Montreal; he graduated in 1933 At McGill he began his research in blood chemistry but Joseph his ...

Article

Dawne Y. Curry

On 8 September 1993, Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, selected Joycelyn Elders as the nation’s surgeon general of the Public Health Service. In this capacity, Elders argued for legislation supporting universal health coverage and advocated on behalf of President Clinton’s health care reform effort. While Elders lobbied for comprehensive health education, she also supported sex education in secondary schools. Her rather blunt opinions, especially concerning masturbation and safe sex, earned her the nickname “Condom Queen.” In 1994, after fifteen months of service, she resigned from this appointment. Elders returned to the University of Arkansas Medical Center, where she had previously served as a professor of pediatrics.

Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones in Schaal, Arkansas. Her mother, Haller, and her father, Curtis Jones were sharecroppers subject to the appalling poverty and exploitation of that position in the South Minnie the oldest ...

Article

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

physician and U.S. surgeon general from 1993 to 1994. Born in rural Arkansas to sharecropper parents, Minnie Lee Jones received a scholarship to attend Philander Smith College in Little Rock at the age of fifteen. While in college she added “Joycelyn” to her name and ultimately used only that. After receiving a degree in biology in 1952, she worked briefly in a Veterans Administration hospital and then in 1953 enlisted in the U.S. Army, where she received training as a physical therapist.

After leaving the army in 1956, Jones attended the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS) and received her MD in 1960. Also in 1960 she married Oliver Elders, with whom she had two sons. In 1967 she earned a master of science degree in biochemistry and also joined the faculty of the UAMS in 1967, becoming a full professor in 1976 ...

Article

Deborah I. Levine

physician, scientist, professor, public health official, and first African American surgeon general of the United States, was born Minnie Lee Jones in the small town of Schaal, Arkansas, the oldest of eight children of Curtis Jones, a sharecropper, and Haller Reed Jones. As a child, Jones performed the hard labor demanded of Arkansas farmers and their families, and she often led her younger siblings in their work on the small cotton farm. The family home was an unpainted three-room shack with no indoor plumbing or electricity, and there was no hospital or physician for miles around. Jones watched her mother give birth seven times without medical assistance; the only memory she has of a visit to a physician was when her father took a gravely ill younger brother twelve miles by mule to the nearest doctor.

Haller Jones was determined that her children would ...

Article

Joycelyn Elders was born Minnie Joycelyn Jones in Schaal, a poor, remote farming village of southwestern Arkansas. Her parents, Haller and Curtis Jones, were sharecroppers, and all eight of their children—Joycelyn was the oldest—worked with them in the cotton fields. The family shared a three-room cabin with no electricity, and the children walked several miles to attend an all-black school. At the age of fifteen, Elders received a scholarship to Little Rock's Philander Smith College, also a school for blacks. There, she met a doctor for the first time in her life and Edith Jones, the first black woman to attend the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS). Elders later credited these experiences with inspiring her to become a doctor.

Elders received a bachelor's degree in 1952 and spent the better part of the next two decades advancing in the medical profession First she served in the ...

Article

Paulette Coleman

medical educator, medical school administrator, researcher, and immunologist, was born Anna Cherrie in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Dr. Ernest Cherrie Sr., a radiologist who practiced family medicine, and Ann Cherrie, a former schoolteacher who became a full-time homemaker after marriage. Cherrie's brother, Ernest Cherrie Jr., became a physician like his father. In spite of her upbringing in the segregated South, Cherrie and her brother were shielded from the harsh realities of racism. Books, classical music, stimulating conversation, and a parade of accomplished visitors like Andrew Young Sr., father of former congressman, U.N. ambassador, and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and Ernest Nathan (Dutch) Morial who became the first African American mayor of New Orleans were fixtures of her privileged environment Precocious Cherrie was close to her father who instilled in her the importance of service to others a strong work ...

Article

Rosalyn Mitchell Patterson

professor of physiology, research physiologist, and medical college administrator, was born Eleanor Lutia Ison, the elder of two daughters born in Dublin, Georgia, to Luther Lincoln Ison, a high school teacher, and Rose Mae Oliver Ison, a teacher and accomplished musician. She attended high schools in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and Quitman, Georgia, before moving with her family to Monroe, Georgia, in the 1940s. Franklin graduated from the Carver High School in 1944 as valedictorian of her class.

At the age of fifteen Franklin entered Spelman College, with the intent to become a doctor. However, under the guidance and tutelage of Dr. Helen T. Albro, chair of the Biology Department, and Dr. Barnett F. Smith professor of biology and Wisconsin graduate she chose to pursue postgraduate study in endocrinology and physiology at the University of Wisconsin Franklin who had played piano and oboe in ...

Article

Kenneth R. Manning

physician, physiologist, and educator, was born near Port Gibson, Mississippi, the son of Edward William Hawthorne, a minister, and Charlotte Bernice Killian, a teacher. As a child Edward endured a bout with polio at the age of seven and the untimely death of his father. After graduating from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., he entered Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, and later transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a BS in biology in 1941 and an MD in 1946. As an intern at Freedmen's Hospital in 1946–1947 he developed an interest in cardiac research. He went on to earn an MS in 1949 and a PhD in 1951, both in physiology, at the University of Illinois, Chicago. In 1948 he married Eula Roberts; they had five children.

Hawthorne's appointment in 1951 to the faculty of ...

Article

Charles W. Jr. Carey

physiologist, pathologist, and author, was born in Shawneetown, Illinois, to John and Cordelia Lewis. His father, a former slave, and his mother had both graduated from Berea College in Kentucky, and earned their livelihoods as schoolteachers. Not surprisingly therefore, Lewis was encouraged from a young age to excel in school and to obtain as much education as possible. Instead of attending his parents' alma mater, he entered the University of Illinois, where he studied biology and physiology and received a BS degree in 1911 and an MA in 1912. Three years later, he completed his doctoral work at the University of Chicago to become the first African American to receive a PhD in Physiology from an American university. In 1917 the same year he received an MD from Chicago s Rush Medical College he was also named a professor of physiology at the University ...

Article

Bridget Brereton

physician and pharmacologist, was born in Cocoye Village, Trinidad, to Lewis Albert Maloney, a building contractor and grocery chain operator, and Estelle Evetta (Bonas) Maloney, a needlepoint teacher to young women. Maloney has the distinction of being the first African American professor of pharmacology in the nation and the second person of African descent to earn both a medical degree and a doctorate of philosophy in the United States.

Arnold began his career planning to become a druggist in Trinidad. He studied at Naparima College in Trinidad, a school affiliated with Cambridge University in England, where he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1909 Maloney had expectations of becoming a druggist in Trinadad however after receiving an unexpected letter from his uncle suggesting greater opportunities existed in the United States he migrated to New York to study medicine During this same year while attending Lincoln ...

Article

Audra J. Wolfe

geneticist and physician, was born in Newburgh, New York, the son of Robert Fulton and Henrietta Frances (Judd) Murray. Murray stayed close to home for most of his education, completing a BS with a pre-med concentration from Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1953, before proceeding to the University of Rochester School of Medicine for his MD in 1958. Murray married Isobel Ann Parks on 26 August 1956, while still in medical school. Their marriage produced four children: Colin Charles, Robert Fulton III, Suzanne Frances, and Dianne Akwe.

After completing medical school, Murray and his wife moved to Denver, Colorado, where he began a long career in clinical medicine. He completed an internship at Denver General Hospital (1958–1959) before moving on to the University of Colorado Medical Center for a residency in internal medicine (1959–1962 For ...

Article

Charles Withers

Scottish physician, botanist, and explorer, was the first European to return safely having observed the west–east course of the River Niger. His significance stems from this geographical accomplishment, from the much reprinted book of his first expedition, Travels in the Interior Districts of Africa, first published in 1799, and from his “heroic” failure and death in 1806, in circumstances that are still unclear, on a further Niger expedition. His second posthumously published work, published in 1815, and drawn from Park’s surviving papers and reports, began the process of Park’s biographical commemoration.

Park was born near Selkirk in Scotland on or about 11 September 1771, the seventh of thirteen children. Park was educated at home, at Selkirk Grammar School, and, from 1789, in the University of Edinburgh, where he studied medicine. In November of 1792 Park was introduced to Sir Joseph Banks by his brother ...