Another hidden figure:

Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African American woman to receive a M.D. degree in 1864.  She earned a doctoral degree from New England Female Medical College in Massachusetts, and was the first black woman to do so.

In 1976, at age 26, Alexa Canady became the first black female neurosurgeon in the United States when she was accepted as a resident at the University of Minnesota.

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Dr. Canady, NIH

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Jane Cooke Wright to the President’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke. Three years laters, at age 48, Wright became professor of surgery, head of the cancer chemotherapy department, and associate dean at New York Medical College.

In 1961, M. Jocelyn Elders (only in her twenties) became the chief resident at the University of Arkansas, leading a charge of white, male residents and interns. She was the first person in the state of Arkansas to be board certified in pediatric endocrinology. Former president Bill Clinton appointed Elders as Surgeon General in 1993.

Regina Benjamin was the only doctor in the small town of Bayou la Batre for 13 years.  At age 39, Benjamin became the first black woman, and the first person under the age of 40, to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, and in 2002 became the first black female president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. She was appointed the eighteenth Surgeon General by President Barack Obama in 2009.

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Dr. Benjamin, NPR


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