February 1st marks the beginning of Black History month in the United States. It is a time when we remember and reflect on the achievements of individuals of color who have made contributions and sacrifices for the betterment of our society. This year is a year like no other in the long history of celebrating Black History. We continue to see social inequities and social injustices impacting our Black and brown communities. During this pandemic we also continue to see a disproportionate infection rate of Covid-19 and number of Covid-19 related deaths in our Black and brown communities. But there is hope on the horizon. I am hopeful that with the new administration pushing for more people to get vaccinated we will turn the corner and get this pandemic under control.
There have been many significant contributions made by African Americans in the field of healthcare and I will be highlighting just a few during this month of celebration.
WEEK 4--Friday, February 26, 2021:
Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)
For more information on Sojourner Truth, click the links below::
WEEK 3--Friday, February 19, 2021:
Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)
You can read more about the amazing life and achievements of Harriet Tubman by clicking on the links below:
WEEK 2--Friday, February 12th, 2021:
Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926)
WEEK 1--Friday, February 5th, 2021:
Dr. Charles Drew (1904-1950)
At the time it was difficult for people of color to get into the medical profession and, even though he was accepted into Harvard, he attended medical school at McGill University Faculty of Medicine in Montreal, Canada where he pursued his interest in transfusion medicine – which became the basis of his later work in blood bank research.
As he was completing his doctoral thesis, “Banked Blood,” World War II broke out in Europe. Drew became the director of the Blood for Britain project and he oversaw the successful collection of 14,500 pints of plasma for the British.
In 1941, just as the U.S. was entering the war, the Red Cross appointed Drew as the director of the first Red Cross blood bank. His tenure as director was short lived as he resigned in 1942 in protest over the U.S. military’s policy prohibiting African Americans from donating blood which was later revised but still prohibited non-white blood being given to white members of the military.
Throughout his short life he battled against racism that was covert as well as overt. He persisted and worked through this barrier and, because he succeeded, healthcare around the world is better for it.
To read more about Dr. Charles Drew and his contributions to healthcare click on the links below.