History January 23, 2018 at 01:07 pm

5 African American pioneers in science and medicine you should know

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

Farida Dawkins January 23, 2018 at 01:07 pm

January 23, 2018 at 01:07 pm | History

Image of Daniel Hale Williams…photo credit: Today I Found Out

Daniel Hale WilliamsThe first Black cardiologist

Dr Williams was born on January 18, 1856, in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. After the death of his father, he was sent to live with relatives. He then moved to Baltimore, Maryland; he ran away to Rockford, Illinois to join his mother again.

Sometime thereafter he moved to Edgerton, Wisconsin where he opened a barbershop.  He relocated again to Janesville, Wisconsin and became enamored with the life of a physician there and decided to follow his footsteps. In 1878, Williams became an apprentice to Dr Henry W. Palmer and in 1880, he began school at the Chicago Medical College now known as Northwestern University Medical School.

In 1883 he established his own medical practice in Chicago, Illinois upon completion of school.  This may have been as the result of Black doctors being barred from working in Chicago hospitals.  This also subsequently led to Williams opening up the Provident Hospital and training school for nurses. In 1893, Williams became the first African-American physician to successfully perform a pericardium surgery; without a blood transfusion or antibiotics.  The patient, James Cornish was discharged five days after surgery.

In 1893, Williams earned the position of surgeon-in-chief at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. He was appointed as a Professor of Clinical Surgery at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee and was a physician at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago. In 1895 he co-established the National Medical Association for African-American doctors.  In 1913, he was instituted as the only Black doctor in the American College of Surgeons. Williams died of a heart attack on August 4, 1931.

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