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Dr. Patrice Harris – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

This week’s #DiversityInHealthcare highlight is psychiatrist Dr. Patrice Harris. Dr. Harris was the first African-American woman to be elected as president of the American Medical Association – in 2019.

Hailing from West Virginia, she knew at an early age that she wanted to be a physician. Despite this, a guidance counselor advised her to go to nursing school. She decided to major in psychology instead and went on to graduate from the West Virginia University School of Medicine. She completed her residency and fellowship at Emory University.

Dr. Harris has an extensive history of leadership, having served extensively with the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, advocated with various legislative bodies, and held the position of director of Health Services for Fulton County, Georgia.

We salute her impressive CV and constant advocacy for children.

Sources: https://www.patriceharrismd.com/aboutindexhttps://www.medpagetoday.com/publichealthpolicy/generalprofessionalissues/84916
Photo source: https://www.patriceharrismd.com/aboutindex

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

Throughout the fall semester, we will be highlighting #DiversityInHealthcare on our social media. This week we are focusing on Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African-American woman physician in the U.S.

Born Rebecca Davis in Delaware on February 8, 1831, Rebecca was raised by an aunt in Pennsylvania, who spent much of her time caring for the ill and may have influenced her career choice.

By 1852 she had moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts, where she worked as a nurse for the next eight years. In 1860, she was admitted to the New England Female Medical College. When she graduated in 1864, Rebecca was the first African American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. degree, and the only African American woman to graduate from the New England Female Medical College (the school closed its doors in 1873.).

A few statistics help put her remarkable achievement in perspective. In 1860, there were only 300 women out of 54,543 physicians in the United States and none of them were African-American. As late as 1920, there were only 65 African-American women doctors in the United States.

Dr. Crumpler practiced in Boston for a short while before moving to Richmond, Virginia, after the Civil War ended in 1865. She joined other black physicians caring for freed slaves who would otherwise have had no access to medical care, working with the Freedmen’s Bureau, and missionary and community groups, even though black physicians experienced intense racism working in the postwar South.

In 1883, Crumpler published A Book of Medical Discourses from the notes she kept over the course of her medical career. Dedicated to nurses and mothers, it focused on the medical care of women and children.

No photos or other images survive of Dr. Crumpler. The little we know about her comes from the introduction to her book, a remarkable mark of her achievements as a physician and medical writer in a time when very few African Americans were able to gain admittance to medical college, let alone publish. Her book is one of the very first medical publications by an African American.

Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler died on March 9, 1895.

https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_73.html

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/celebrating-rebecca-lee-crumpler-first-african-american-physician

Post written by Stefanie Lapka.

Anna Louise James – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

As the first African American woman graduate of the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy, and the first female African American pharmacist in the state of Connecticut, Anna Louise James is considered one of the first female African-American pharmacists in the country.


She was born in 1886 in Hartford, and eventually took over her brother-in-law’s pharmacy in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. James Pharmacy was a town staple until her retirement in 1967.

More info: https://connecticuthistory.org/anna-louise-james-makes-history-with-medicine/

Photo source: http://id.lib.harvard.edu/images/olvwork20006904/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:345433/catalog

Dr. Joycelyn Elders – #DiversityInHealthcare

Diversity in Healthcare

Dr. Joycelyn Elders grew up in rural and segregated Arkansas. She didn’t even meet a doctor until she was 16 years old, but she heard a speech by Dr. Edith Irby Jones while she was in college and decided to become a physician. She is an Army veteran who attended medical school on the G.I. bill.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders standing at podium
She worked in the realms of both clinical practice and research and was the first person to be board certified in pediatric endocrinology in the state of Arkansas. In 1993, she was appointed and confirmed as the fifteenth Surgeon General of the United States – the first African American and second woman to hold that position.

While she was a controversial figure during her time as Surgeon General, she was always able to spark conversation about previously taboo topics in the name of improving adolescent health.

She spoke on race and health at UH this past November where I was able to take this photo. What an honor to have such a role model here on campus!

More information is available here: https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_98.html