For Black History Month, we reflect on the impact of black Americans who helped break medicine’s race barrier. From historical contributions to ongoing efforts, learn about three physicians who did more than trail-blaze black representation in medicine, they helped shape healthcare as we know it today.


Dr. Patricia Bath

Dr. Patricia Bath was a pioneering ophthalmologist and inventor. She became the first African American female physician to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first African American woman to serve on staff as a surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center. Dr. Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, a device used for cataract treatment, which revolutionized the field of ophthalmology.

Read more about Dr. Bath’s career.


Dr. Alexa Canady

Dr. Alexa Canady made history as the first African American woman neurosurgeon in the United States. Throughout her career, she specialized in pediatric neurosurgery and made significant contributions to her field, particularly in the treatment of hydrocephalus in children. Dr. Canady’s achievements paved the way for more diversity and inclusion in the medical profession.

Read more about Dr. Canady’s career.


Dr. Charles R. Drew

Dr. Drew was a prominent physician, surgeon, and medical researcher known for his groundbreaking work in blood plasma preservation and storage. His research laid the foundation for modern blood transfusion techniques, which saved countless lives during World War II and beyond. Dr. Drew’s contributions to medicine have had a lasting impact on healthcare worldwide.

Read more about Dr. Drew’s career.