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Do you know these healthcare pioneers?
There have been many accomplished and influential Black individuals in the field of healthcare who have made significant contributions to medicine, nursing, and public health. Here are just a few:
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (1856-1931) was a pioneering African American surgeon and one of the first physicians to perform successful open-heart surgery. He founded Provident Hospital in Chicago in 1891, one of the first interracial hospitals in the United States.
Dr. Charles R. Drew (1904-1950) was a prominent physician, surgeon, and researcher known for his groundbreaking work in blood transfusion and blood storage techniques. He established the first blood bank during World War II and revolutionized the field of blood banking.
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895) was the first African American woman in the United States to earn a medical degree. She practiced medicine in Boston and authored a book on women’s health, A Book of Medical Discourses.
Dr. Joycelyn Elders served as the 15th Surgeon General of the United States from 1993 to 1994. She was the first African American to hold this position and was known for her advocacy on public health issues such as sexual education and contraception.
Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926) was the first African American woman to work as a professionally trained nurse in the United States. She dedicated her career to promoting racial equality in nursing and founded the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN).
Dr. Mae Jemison is a physician, engineer, and astronaut who became the first African American woman to travel in space when she flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992. She has also been involved in various health and education initiatives.
Dr. Jerome Adams served as the 20th Surgeon General of the United States from 2017 to 2021. He focused on addressing public health challenges such as the opioid epidemic, smoking cessation, and mental health.
These individuals broke barriers in their respective fields, serving as role models and inspirations for future generations of healthcare professionals, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds.
Did you know that Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey (VNA) is the longest-serving VNA in the state of New Jersey? So we know a thing or two about healthy aging and how to successfully “age in place” while avoiding hospitalization and nursing homes. We suggest that you learn more about our home health care services and make a plan to age at home before you have a health emergency.
Medicare and supplemental insurance often do not cover all the care our patients and caregivers need. If you would like to help, please visit vnannj.org/donate or call VNA Foundation at 973-451-4148.
The Visiting Nurse Association of Northern New Jersey (VNA) is a leading provider of comprehensive home health care services in Morris, Hunterdon, Sussex, Warren, Somerset, and Passaic Counties in Northern New Jersey. Established in 1898, generations have known that just one call to VNA opens the door to quality, patient-centered home health care solutions that allow patients to remain in the comfort of their homes with dignity, health, and independence.
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