Celebrating Black History Month: The Pioneering Women of Healthcare

  1. Dr Rebecca Lee Crumpler- was the very first African-American woman to become a medical doctor in America.  She graduated from the New England Female Medical College in 1864 and later went on to practice in Boston, Massachusetts and Richmond, Virginia.

  2. Dr Patricia Bath- The first African-American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention that removes cataracts. She transformed the foundation of eye surgery by using a laser device which makes the procedure much more accurate and effective.

  3. Mary Eliza Mahoney - This woman accomplished so many incredible things! She was the first African-American professional nurse in the United States. Mahoney studies at the nursing school of the New England Hospital for Women and Children, and became the very first African-American woman to complete her nurse's training in 1879. She also has been credited as one of the first women to register to vote in Boston following the 1920's ratification of the 19th Amendment. Mahoney was inducted into both the Nursing Hall of Fame and the National Women's Hall of Fame. In 1909, Mahoney gave the welcome address at the first conference of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN). In recognition of her outstanding example to nurses of all races, NACGN established the Mary Mahoney Award in 1936. When NACGN merged with the American Nurses Association in 1951, the award was continued. Today, the Mary Mahoney Award is bestowed biennially in recognition of significant contributions in interracial relationships.

  4. Dr. Alexa Irene Canady - was the first woman and the first African-American to become a neurosurgeon in the U.S.  Dr. Canady specialized as a pediatric neurosurgeon and served as chief of neurosurgery at Children’s Hospital in Michigan from 1987 -2001.  Her areas of expertise included spinal abnormalities, congenital spinal abnormalities, hydrocephalus and also trauma and brain tumors.

  5. Dr. Vada Watson Somerville - became the first African-American woman in California to receive her D.D.S. or Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1918. Dr. Somerville was the only woman and the only African-American in her class. At the state dental examination, she scored among the highest. Dr. Somerville was the second African-American woman to graduate from USC Dentistry and her husband John was the first African American person to graduate from USC dentistry.

Our values at Bella Women's Care are built around providing unique, compassionate and individualized healthcare to women of all ages, race, nationally and walks of life. 

Bella Women's Care Blogger

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