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Surgeon in green scrubs, mask, gloves, and cap performing surgery. Courtesy Sharon Henry, M.D. and Maryland Institute of Emergency  Medical Services Systems


African Americans have always practiced medicine, whether as physicians, healers, midwives, or “root doctors.” The journey of the African American physician from pre-Civil War to modern day America has been a challenging one. Early black pioneer physicians not only became skilled practitioners, they became trailblazers and educators paving the way for future physicians, surgeons, and nurses, and opening doors to better health care for the African American community.

We celebrate the achievements of these pioneers in medicine by highlighting four contemporary pioneer African American surgeons and educators who exemplify excellence in their fields and believe in continuing the journey of excellence through the education and mentoring of young African Americans pursuing medical careers.

Three surgeons standing in an operating room performing surgery with several nurses and attendants observing.  Courtesy Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University Surgeon in scrubs, mask, gloves and cap seated at an operating table. Courtesy Detroit Free Press/Hugh Glannum. Head shot of a women surgeon wearing a mask, cap and protective eyewear.  Courtesy Sharon Henry, M.D. and Maryland Institute of Emergency  Medical Services Systems Illustration of a building with a flag flying at the top. Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Credits  |  Traveling Exhibit

Red and black design with a person’s full body silhouette at the top.Illustration of a doctor holding a book while a man lies in bed.An exhibition developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine and The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

Curated by Margaret A. Hutto and Jill L. Newmark

This web site was created to accompany an exhibition at the National Library of Medicine
and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, Baltimore.

February 1 – May 31, 2007.