Black History Month: Pioneers In Medicine


 joins Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in honoring pioneers in medicine. Take a moment to reflect on these iconic public health pioneers and scientists whose contributions helped to advance medicine benefiting all people. and Alnylam invite you to share your medical history with your family. Throughout this month, you’ll also learn about hereditary ATTR amyloidosis and can discover more at Alnylam’s

Follow the Hashtags: #raredisease #genetictesting #yourhealthhistory #blackhistorymonth #pioneersinmedicine #hATTR #amyloidosis




When I saw colored women doing all the work in cases of accouchement [childbirth],” she was quoted as saying, “and all the fee going to some white doctor who merely looked on, I asked myself why should I not get the fee myself. For this purpose I have qualified. I went to Philadelphia, studied medicine hard, procured my degree…”





One of our favorite “she persisted” stories—Eliza Ann Grier, M.D., (1864 – 1902) an emancipated slave, was the first African American woman licensed to practice medicine in the state of Georgia. It took her seven years to finish medical school because she alternated each year of school with a year of picking cotton to pay tuition.  She was an OBGYN.  #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHealthMatters




“Courage is like —- a habit, a virtue; you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging.”




Overcoming the dual hurdles of racial and gender bias, Marie Maynard Daly (1921–2003) conducted important studies on cholesterol, sugars, and proteins. In addition to her research, she was committed to developing programs to increase the enrollment of minority students in medical school and graduate science programs. #BlackHistoryMonth   #BlackHealthMatters



“The greatest challenge I faced in becoming a neurosurgeon was believing it was possible”



Alexa Canady is the first female African American pediatric neurosurgeon. Throughout her 20 year career, she has helped thousand of patients. Dr. Canady was chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 1987 until her retirement in June 2001. She holds two honorary degrees: a doctorate of humane letters from the University of Detroit-Mercy, awarded in 1997, and a doctor of science degree from the University of Southern Connecticut, awarded in 1999.  #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackHealthMatters




“I am proud to be a role model, not because I have done so much, but to say to young people it can be”




Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown (First African American surgeon in the South)
Dorothy Lavinia Brown (January 7, 1919 – June 13, 2004), also known as “Dr. D.”, was an African American surgeon, legislator, and teacher. She was the first female surgeon of African American ancestry from the Southeastern United States. She attended Meharry Medical College and spent her childhood in an orphanage and eventually became a surgeon at Nashville’s Riverside Hospital. She was also the first African American woman to be granted the right to become an adoptive parent. #BlackHistoryMonth   #BlackHealthMatters





Philadelphia’s James Derham: first Black person to practice medicine in the United States






Dr. James Derham was a former slave who operated a successful medical practice in New Orleans in the 1780’s, even though he never received his M.D. degree. He acquired his medical knowledge as a slave from his three former owners who were physicians. Derham specialized in throat diseases and the relationship between climate and diseases.  He was popular because of his ability to speak French, Spanish, and English. #BlackHistoryMonth   #BlackHealthMatters





“My love of humanity and passion for helping others inspired me to become a physician.”






Patricia E. Bath, an ophthalmologist and laser scientist, is an innovative research scientist and advocate for blindness prevention, treatment, and cure. She was the first African American woman doctor to receive a patent.  Her accomplishments include the invention of a new device and technique for cataract surgery known as laserphaco, the creation of a new discipline known as “community ophthalmology,” and appointment as the first woman chair of ophthalmology in the United States, at Drew-UCLA in 1983. #BlackHistoryMonth   #BlackHealthMatters