Notable African-Americans in Medical History

In honor of Black History Month, GMC recognizes the many medical contributions made by African-Americans. Learn about the influential medical contributions made by African-Americans and complete the word search for more educational fun.


1751: Cesar, a slave in South Carolina was freed by the S.C. General Assembly because he discovered a cure for rattlesnake bites. 
1762: James Derham was the first black person to receive a certificate to practice medicine in the U.S. He won his freedom and set up his own practice in New Orleans. 
1864: Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first black woman doctor in the U.S. She graduated from what is now Boston University School of Medicine. 
1868: Howard University establishes Howard University School of Medicine. 
1876: Meharry Medical College was established to care for freed slaves. 
1940: Dr. Charles Drew pioneered techniques for separating and preserving blood components-especially blood plasma. His expertise saved thousands of lives during World War II. 
1975: Morehouse School of Medicine is founded by Dr. Louis Sullivan who later served as secretary of Health & Human Services. 
1987: Dr. Benjamin Carson performed the first successful surgical separation of Siamese twins joined at the back of the head. 
1992: Dr. Mae Jamison became the first black female astronaut to complete a space mission. 
1993: Dr. Jocelyn Elders became the first black surgeon general of the U.S. and Dr. David Satcher became the first black to head the CDC. 
2009: Dr. Regina Benjamin becomes surgeon general in the Obama administration. 


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