History of Medicine
African American surgeons still face many challenges, but their path has been made easier by the pioneering surgeons that came before them. Among academic surgeons today, African Americans hold some of the most prestigious academic surgical positions in the United States including Danny O. Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the department of surgery at Duke University and Selywn Vickers, M.D., chair of the department of surgery at the University of Minnesota. The tradition of excellence through performance and education continues.
Dr. L.D. Britt is a general surgeon, professor of surgery, and chair of the department of surgery at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Dr. Britt is a leader in academic surgery and has received numerous awards for his outstanding contributions to medical education including the Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Educator Award, the highest teaching award in medicine given by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Dr. Britt is the first African-American to achieve the position of professor of surgery in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He is the Executive Director of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons as well as a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Britt is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his surgical residency at University Hospital and Cook County Hospital at the University of Illinois School of Medicine, and his fellowship training at the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services, University of Maryland and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.
Dr. Malcolm V. Brock s a thoracic surgeon, associate professor of thoracic surgery, and associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He provides surgical therapy for patients who have thoracic cancers and conducts research focusing on early detection of lung and esophagel cancers and screening for lung cancers in HIV smokers cancers. Dr. Brock is the chair of the Department of Surgery Diversity Committee and the IT Committees of the Department of Surgery and the Department of Oncology. He is a peer reviewer for various medical journals including the Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Archives of Surgery.
Dr. Brock received his medical degree and completed his surgical residency at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Dr. Karyn L. Butler is a trauma surgeon and director of Surgical Critical Care at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. She conducts research at the Cardiovascular Research Center on myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury (the loss or reduction in blood flow to part of the muscular tissue of the heart and resulting injury). Dr. Butler has served on the publications committee of the Society of University Surgeons and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons.
Dr. Butler received her medical degree from Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her surgical training at Howard University College of Medicine. She held fellowships at Bayley-Seton Hospital, Staten Island, NY and UMD-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, and was a N.I.H. Trauma Research Fellow at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver.
Dr. Benjamin S. Carson, Sr. is a pediatric neurosurgeon; professor of neurological surgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics; and director of pediatric neurosurgery at The Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions.
Dr. Carson pioneered the first intrauterine surgical procedure to relive pressure on the brain of a hydrocephalic fetal twin in 1986. He performed the first successful separation of conjoined twins joined at the head in 1987, and was a member of the surgical team that operated on two 29 year old Iranian conjoined twins in 2003.
He serves as co-director of the Johns Hopkins Cleft and Craniofacial Center and is the youngest physician to head a major division at Johns Hopkins when he became Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery in 1984 at age 33. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan and completed his surgical residency at Johns Hopkins University Medical School.
Dr. Carson is a recipient of the 2008 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States.
Dr. Edward E. Cornwell, III is a trauma surgeon and the LaSalle D. Leffall professor of surgery and chairman of the department of surgery at Howard University College of Medicine. He previously held the position of professor of surgery, and director of Adult Trauma Service at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Cornwell is committed to violence prevention through education and outreach. He has served as president of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons and the Surgical Section of the National Medical Association, and chairman of TraumaNet of Maryland. He is currently deputy editor of Archives of Surgery.
Dr. Cornwell received his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and completed his surgical training at Los Angeles County University of Southern California Medical Center and Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services, Baltimore.
Dr. Kenneth Davis, Jr. is a professor of surgery and clinical anesthesia, vice-chairman of the department of surgery, and assistant dean for Diversity and Cultural Affairs at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He also serves as a member of the Office of Diversity and Community Affairs. Dr. Davis is a member of the Executive Committee of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons.
Dr. Davis received his medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine and completed his surgical training at Harlem Hospital in New York.
Dr. Sharon M. Henry is a trauma surgeon, professor of surgery, and director of the Division of Wound Healing and Metabolism at the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Henry conducts research in the management of complex wounds and critical illness. She is the first African American woman elected as a member of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.
Dr. Henry received her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed her surgical residency at the State University of New York Health Sciences Center in Brooklyn where she also served as assistant professor of surgery. She completed her surgical critical care fellowship at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Carla M. Pugh is associate professor of surgery and associate director of the Center for Advanced Surgical Education at Northwestern University. Dr. Pugh is engaged in developing innovative uses of technology for medical and surgical education. She holds a patent on the method of simulation used to design the pelvic exam simulator, a teaching tool for medical students. In 2011, Dr. Pugh received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE award), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government to scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent careers.
Dr. Pugh received her medical degree and surgical training at Howard University College of Medicine, and received a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University.
Dr. Velma Scantlebury is a transplant surgeon, associate director of the Kidney Transplant Program and associate chief of transplant surgery at Christiana Care in Newark, Delaware. She previously served as professor of surgery, assistant dean for community education, director of the division of transplantation, and director of the University of South Alabama Regional Transplant Center. Dr. Scantlebury is the first African American woman transplant surgeon in the United States.
Dr. Scantlebury received her medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed her internship and residency at Harlem Hospital Center in New York. She was a clinical fellow in transplant surgery at the University of Pittsburgh before becoming an assistant professor in 1989 and then an associate professor.
An active educator in the field of African American organ donation, Dr. Scantlebury has served as a member of the board for the American Society of Minority Health and Transplant Professionals and as a spokesperson for Linkages to Life, an initiative to encourage African Americans to become organ donors.
Dr. Claudia L. Thomas is an orthopaedic surgeon and served as assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Thomas is the first African American woman orthopaedic surgeon and the first woman graduate of Yale University Orthopaedic Program. While serving at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine she assisted in recruiting the largest number of minorities ever to train in orthopaedics at Johns Hopkins. She is currently a partner in the Tri-County Orthopaedic Center in Leesburg, Florida with two former students.
Dr. Thomas received her medical degree at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her orthopaedic surgical residency at Yale University – New Haven Hospital. She completed a trauma fellowship at Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services, University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Dr. Errington C. Thompson is a trauma surgeon and associate director of trauma/surgical critical care at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. He previously served as clinical assistant professor and director of trauma at Louisiana State University Medical Center in Shreveport. As a member of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons he serves on the Executive Committee.
Dr. Thompson received his medical degree from Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and completed his surgical training at Louisiana State University, Shreveport.
Dr. Patricia L. Turner is a general surgeon and associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Turner is program director for the General Surgery Residency Program at the University of Maryland Medical Center. She has served as chair of the Surgical Caucus of the American Medical Association Young Physicians Section, is a member of the Editorial Board of Surgical News and is a senior staff fellow at the NIH National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, Laboratory of Kidney and Electrolyte Metabolism, Bethesda, MD. Dr. Turner received her medical degree at Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, completed her surgical residency at Howard University Hospital, and was a clinical fellow in minimally invasive and laparoscopic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Weill-Cornell University of Medicine, and Columbia University, New York City. In December 2011, she begin serving as the Director of the American College of Surgeons Division of Member Services.
Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. is a cardiac surgeon, professor of cardiac surgery and associate dean at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He performed the world's first implantation of the automatic defibrillator in a human in 1980, and today over a million people have received this life saving device. Dr. Watkins is dedicated to increasing diversity at all levels of the university and largely due to his efforts the number of minority students attending Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine increased by 400% in four years.
Dr. Watkins grew up in segregated Montgomery, Alabama, the son of well-educated parents who emphasized a good education and a strong work ethic. As a member Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Watkins learned spirituality and the principles of humanity and participated in the early civil rights movement under Dr. King's leadership.
As the first African American student accepted at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, he was subjected to four years of racial prejudice, and in 1970, became the first black graduate. Today, his portrait is displayed at the university, a professorship is named in his honor, and the Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture on Diversity in Medical Education is an annual event.
Dr. Watkins spent much of his medical career at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed his internship and surgical residency at Hopkins and went on to become the first African American chief resident, professor of cardiac surgery, and associate dean.