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African American contribution to healthcare and wellness

Black History Month

February is African American History Month. There are many African Americans that have significantly contributed to health and wellness over the years. It has not been an easy road for many African Americans. Thankfully, many have not only met each obstacle but lept over them to make healthcare better for everyone. A heartfelt thank you to those that helped pave the way for all those that want to help humankind in the healthcare field as well as in our own families and communities.

William Edward Allen, Jr. Physician born in 1903. He was the first African American certified x-ray technician. He founded one of the first approved residencies in radiology for minorities in the late 1930s. He was also the founder of the first and only African American Women’s Army Corps School for x-ray technologists during World War II.

Rebecca J. Cole was the first african american woman to graduate from the Woman’s Medical College in PA.

Daniel Hale Williams was the first doctor to successfully perform open-heart surgery performed in chicago 1893. He also founded the first black owned hospital in America, Provident Hospital.

James McCune Smith was the first African American to earn a medical degree and practice medicine in the US in 1837. He was also the first African American to own and operate a pharmacy in New York.

Charles Richard Drew developed a way to preserve blood and went on to become the first director of the American Red Cross. Otis Boykin invented pacemaker controls. Phil Brooks invented the disposable syringe.

Myra Adele Logan was the first woman to perform open heart surgery. Mary Eliza Mahoney first black professional nurse in America. Rebecca Lee Crumpler first African American woman to earn a medical degree in 1864.

This is by no means an extensive list of all that African Americans have contributed to healthcare and wellness in the United States. If you are interested in learning more about African American History here in Fayette County check out this list of resources as well as visiting for even more information.

Local events in Lexington, KY to celebrate African American History Month will be held all month long.

UK will be displaying a collection of Shona Sculptures from February to March 31, 2014 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center, room 124. Contact 257-4130 for information on the exhibit.

February 23, Barnes and Nobles bookstore will be having a Black History Month Storytime.

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