This season, Jodie Whittaker made history when she became the first woman to be assigned the title role of Doctor Who. But she wasn't the first black woman to make a mark in the medical field. HBO's Sunday night premiere opened with a flashback to the Tulsa Race Massacre, and it was a reminder of the incredible women who have come before us. From Rebecca Lee Crumpler to Jo Martin, Ncuti Gatwa, and more, these pioneering black women doctors have paved the way for future generations.Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1830-1895) was a highly praised nurse, physician, and medical author.
She was the first black woman in the United States to earn a medical degree in 1864, even before the end of the Civil War. She went on to become the first black woman to chair an academic department of pathology in the United States and the first full-time director of the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health.In 1983, Dr. Jo Jenkins became the first woman to preside over an ophthalmology residency in the United States. She was also the first black president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and also the first black president of the Society of Adolescent Medicine.
Dr. Jenkins created the discipline of community ophthalmology.Dr. Dorothy Brown was the first black surgeon in the South and the first black woman to be appointed a member of the American College of Surgeons. She was also the medical director of the Mississippi Health Project, bringing state and federal resources to impoverished Black communities in the rural South during the Great Depression.Dr.
Joycelyn Elders was the first person in Arkansas to be certified in pediatric endocrinology, and she was also one of only fifteen general surgeons in the United States at that time. She was also appointed Assistant Surgeon General in 1988, making her the first black woman to hold such a position in the United States Public Health Service.More recently, Jo Martin made her debut as the first female black doctor in history on Doctor Who. Ncuti Gatwa is also embarking on an exciting journey as Jodie Whittaker's successor in Doctor Who. And Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) was an openly gay black companion who died temporarily, became a Cyberman, and greeted off-screen after his girlfriend saves her.These pioneering women have made incredible strides for future generations.
They have broken down barriers and opened up opportunities for other women and minorities who want to pursue a career in medicine. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their courage and determination.