The Top Achievements In Black Health

young african american woman on a mirror, black and whiteBlack History Month is a time for many things. It is a time to celebrate all our hard-won achievements. It is a time to reflect on the challenging, often heartbreaking road we’ve endured for those achievements. It is a time to come to terms with the fact that, while we’ve succeed in so much, it is a very long road and we, as a community, are at a crossroads – our journey is by no means over.

It is a time to hope for all the future joys and future successes that, with more dedication and more effort, will surely be ours.

Below is a timeline of our amazing healthcare journey (so far)…

1721 – Onesimus, an enslaved African, describes to Cotton Mather, an influential American writer and religious leader, the African method of inoculation against smallpox. This technique, later used to protect American Revolutionary War soldiers, is perfected in the 1790’s by British doctor Edward Jenner’s in the use of a less virulent organism.

1783 Dr. James Durham, born into slavery in 1762, buys his freedom and begins his own medical practice in New Orleans, becoming the first “colored” doctor in the United States. As a youngster, he was owned by a number of doctors, who taught him how to read and write, mix medicines, and serve and work with patients. Durham had a flourishing medical practice in New Orleans until 1801, when the city restricted his practice because he did not have a formal medical degree.

1788 Dr. James Durham is invited to Philadelphia to meet Dr. Benjamin Rush, who wanted to investigate Durham’s reported success in treating patients with diphtheria. Dr. Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of America’s foremost physicians, was so impressed that he personally read Durham’s paper on diphtheria before the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Durham returned to New Orleans in 1789, where he saved more yellow fever victims than any other physician – during an epidemic that killed thousands, he lost 11 of 64 patients.

1837 Dr. James McCune Smith graduates from the University of Glasgow, becoming the first “colored” person to earn a medical degree.

1852 The Jackson Street Hospital, in Augusta, GA, is established as the first institution of record solely for the care of “colored” patients. The founders were a group of charitable minded whites led by Dr. Henry Fraser Campbell of the University of Georgia School of Medicine. There was no “colored” staff in this three story structure, which housed fifty beds, operating quarters, and a lecture hall.

1862 Freedmen’s Hospital is established in Washington, D.C., and is the only federally-funded health care facility for “colored” people in the nation.

Susie Baker (who later became known as Susie King Taylor), born a slave in Georgia in 1848, becomes the first “colored” U.S. Army nurse during the Civil War. She served in a newly formed regiment of “colored” soldiers, organized at Port Royal Island off the South Carolina coast by Major General David Hunter, commander of the Union’s Department of the South. After the war, she helped to organize a branch of the Women’s Relief Corps.

1864 Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first “colored” female to earn a medical degree, graduates from New England Female Medical College, Boston.

1867 Robert Tanner Freeman, born in 1847 to slave parents in North Carolina, is one of the first six graduates in dental medicine from Harvard University, thus becoming the first “colored” man to receive an education in dentistry and a dental degree from an American medical school.

1868 Howard University School of Medicine is established in Washington, D.C. to educate “colored” doctors. Notably, the school welcomes both “Negro” and white students, including women.

1878 Dr. James Francis Shober earns his M.D. from Howard University School of Medicine and later becomes the first known “colored” physician with a medical degree to practice in North Carolina.

1879 Mary Eliza Mahoney becomes the first professional “colored” nurse, graduating from the New England Hospital for Women and Children (Now the Dimock Community Health Center) in Boston.

1881 The first school of record for “colored” student nurses is established at Spelman College in Atlanta.

1891 Dr. Daniel Hale Williams establishes the Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Chicago, the first “colored”-owned and first interracial hospital in the United States. Dr. Austin Maurice Curtis, Sr. (a Raleigh native) becomes the hospital’s first intern.

1893 – Dr. Daniel Hale Williams performs the first successful operation on a human heart at Provident Hospital. The patient, a victim of a chest stab wound, survived and lived a normal life for twenty years after the operation.

1895 The National Medical Association is founded in Atlanta, GA, since “colored” people are barred from other established medical groups.

Dr. Nathan Francis Mossell founds the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital and Training School for Nurses in Philadelphia, PA.

1900 The Washington Society of Colored Dentists, the first organization of “colored” dentists, is founded in Washington, D.C.

1901 Dr. Aaron McDuffie Moore convinces Washington Duke to donate money for the construction of Lincoln Hospital in Durham, NC.

1904 Alois Alzheimer selects five foreign visiting students at the Royal Psychiatric Hospital, University of Munich, as his graduate research assistants, including black Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller. After leaving Germany in 1906, Fuller continued his research on degenerative disorders of the brain and was a widely published pioneer in Alzheimer’s disease research. At the time of his death in 1953, the only acknowledgment of his Fuller’s work was an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree awarded in 1943 by his alma mater, Livingstone College, Salisbury, NC.

1908 The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) is established. (NACGN was dissolved in 1951, when its members voted to merge with the American Nurses Association).

1912 Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as the country’s first “Negro” psychiatrist, publishes the first comprehensive clinical review of all Alzheimer’s cases that have been reported up to this time. He was the first to translate into English much of Alois Alzheimer’s work on the disease.

1915 The NAACP awards Dr. Ernest E. Just the first Springarn Medal for his pioneering research on fertilization and cell division.

1917 In Camp Upton, NY, Dr. Louis T. Wright, a pioneer in clinical antibiotic research, develops a better technique (intradermal injection) for vaccinating soldiers against smallpox.

1921 Dr. Meta L. Christy, a graduate of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, becomes the world’s first “Negro” osteopathic physician.

1927 Dr. William Augustus Hinton develops the Hinton Test for diagnosing syphilis in Boston, MA. (He later develops an improved version, the Hinton-Davies Test, in 1931).

1936 – Dr. William Augustus Hinton’s book, Syphilis and Its Treatment, is the first medical textbook written by a Negro to be published.

1938 – Sara Delaney’s article Bibliotherapy in a Hospital is published in the February issue of Opportunity magazine. (Delaney, chief librarian at the U.S. Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, was a pioneer in the use of selected reading to aid in the treatment of patients).

1940 Dr. Charles R. Drew presents his thesis, “Banked Blood,” at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. The thesis covers two years of blood research, including the discovery that plasma could replace whole blood transfusions.

1944 A group of  “Negro” medics land on Utah Beach/Normandy on D-Day + 4, as part of a nine-person, all-“Negro” team of medics, which included two officers. Serving with the 687th and the 530th Medical Detachments, they spent most of the rest of the European campaign attached to the 3rd Army while participating in many of its major actions.

1950 Dr. Helen O. Dickens becomes the first “Negro” woman admitted to the American College of Surgeons.

1954 – Dr. Peter Murray Marshall is installed as the President of the New York County Medical Society, becoming the first “Negro” to lead a unit of the American Medical Association.

1964 Dr. Geraldine Pittman Woods becomes the first black woman appointed to the National Advisory General Medical Services Council. In this position, she addressed the need to improve science education and research opportunities at minority institutions.

1967 Dr. Jane C. Wright, pioneer in chemotherapy research and daughter of Dr. Louis T. Wright (see 1917), is appointed an Associate Dean and Professor of Surgery at New York Medical College – at the time, the highest post ever attained by a black woman in medical administration.

1969 Alfred Day Hershey, PhD., geneticist, becomes the first Black American to share a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He received the award for his research on the replication and genetic structure of viruses.

1975 – Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, is the only black medical school founded in the United States during the 20th century. Since its establishment, the school has sent more than 700 doctors, mostly black, to provide health care in impoverished parts of the country, especially to poorer black communities where access to medical care has traditionally been in short supply.

Dr. Louis Sullivan, who became the first dean and president of Morehouse School of Medicine, is also noted as the first black male to head the Department of Health & Human Services.

1978 Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall becomes the first black President of the American Cancer Society.

1987 – Dr. Ben Carson, neurosurgeon, leads a seventy-member surgical team at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD in the separation of Siamese twins joined at the cranium.

1990 Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston becomes the first female and first African American to direct a public health service bureau: the Bureau of Primary Health Care in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Her 1986 study of sickle-cell disease led to a nationwide screening program to test newborns for immediate treatment.

1991 Dr. Vivian Pinn is the first female and first African-American woman to be appointed Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health for the National Institutes of Health, which oversees research on women and insures that they are represented in broad clinical trials.

1992 Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African American female astronaut in NASA history, becomes the first black woman in space, as part of SPACELAB J, a successful joint U.S. and Japanese science mission. A graduate of Cornell University Medical School, Jemison served in the Peace Corps as its area medical officer, from 1983 to 1985, in the West African countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia.

1993 Dr. Edward S. Cooper is the first African American elected as National President of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Joycelyn Elders is the first African American to be appointed as U.S. Surgeon General.

Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee is the first African-American woman to be appointed dean of a U.S. medical school (Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine).

1994 Reginald Ware publishes Heart & Soul magazine, which is the nation’s first healthy lifestyle magazine for African Americans.

1995 Dr. Helene Doris Gayle is the first female and first African-American Director of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

1996 Dr. Ernest E. Just is recognized for his contributions to the biological sciences with a commemorative U.S. Postal Service stamp.

1997 Dr. Donna Christian-Christensen is the first female and first African-American female physician in the U.S. Congress.

Drs. Paula Mahone and Karen Drake are members of a team of forty specialists involved in the delivery of the McCaughey septuplets at Iowa Methodist Medical Center.

1998 Dr. David Satcher is sworn in as both the Assistant Secretary for Health and U.S. Surgeon General.

2000 Dr. Sharon Henry is the first African-American woman to be elected into membership as a fellow in the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma.

The nation’s largest group of African-American physicians, the National Medical Association (NMA), charge that many managed care plans effectively discriminate against them

2002 Dr. Roselyn Payne Epps is the first African-American woman to serve as President of the American Medical Women’s Association.

2005 Reginald Ware creates as the nation’s first health website dedicated to the culturally specific health and wellness needs of African Americans.

2010 – President Barack Obama signs the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare or the federal health care law, into law. Together with the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, it represents the most significant regulatory overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

The Top 10 Beauty Foods

raw salmon

( — Are you a hottie on a budget, who wants a great face without being forced to buy ridiculously expensive products? If so, nature has everything you need to help you be a goddess/god of great, glowing skin. So glow on!!!

Wild Salmon 

Foods heavy in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, herring, and trout play a key role in keeping skin smooth. They provide our skin with oils that lubricate and reduce inflammation, which often leads to redness, acne, and scaly skin

Sweet Potatoes 

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and, when ingested, are converted into vitamin A, a prime factor in keeping skin kissable & soft. Not a potato person? Carrots will do the trick, too.

Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Mangoes 

These juicy melons are heavy in carotenoids, which help protect your skin from sunburn. Don’t let fruit be your only protection though, sunscreen still reigns supreme.


Any food with lots of vitamin C, like kiwi, oranges, and grapefruit, are big skin savers. Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis and protects against wrinkles. In a study done by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who had a diet high in vitamin C foods had noticeably less dryness and fewer wrinkles.


This sweet little fruit will make you skin look sweet & delicious as well.  A cup of strawberries has up to 130% of the DV of vitamin C, which is an extremely potent antioxidant that boosts production of collagen fibers that help keep skin smooth and firm. Strawberries also have something called ellagic acid which is an antioxidant that protects the elastic fibers that keep skin from sagging.


An apple a day keeps skin cancer away with Quercetin, an antioxidant contained in the apple peel. The varieties with the most Quercetin are Monroe, Cortland, and Golden Delicious.


A little egg on the face is good for you because eggs have two antioxidants, Lutein and zeaxanthin, which quadruple protection against the UV damage. Eggs also make your skin softer, firmer, and better hydrated.

Dark Chocolate 

Studies show that enjoying a small piece of dark chocolate will provide high levels of cocoa flavanols, which have been associated with softer, more hydrated skin. Note the word small.


We all know that milk does a body good, but what it does for your teeth is a whole lot better! Since it’s an excellent source of calcium, it helps support your jawbone, keeps your teeth cavity-free, and promotes the reformation of enamel. If you’re lactose-intolerant, other great calcium-rich foods include collard greens, baked beans, fortified soy milk, even a handful of trail mix!


Broccoli has been proven to keep gums healthy, along with other vitamin C-packed foods like citrus and peppers. This is probably why Mom wouldn’t let us leave the table until we finished our vegetables.

Olive Oil

If you avoid fat for the sake of your waistline, your face could be paying the price. “A lot of young women have dry, flaky skin because they don’t eat enough fat,” says Joy Bauer, a nutritionist in New York City and author of The 90/10 Weight-Loss Plan. If you’re getting fewer than 20 grams of fat a day (roughly 2 tablespoons of oil), your skin may not be able to lubricate itself and your body may not absorb enough vitamin A, which your skin needs to be healthy and vibrant.

Simple food switch: Sprinkle your salad with olive oil and toss in some avocados and nuts. We swear, this won’t have an adverse effect on your jeans size.


Yogurt is a good source of protein and has been found in clinical studies to help stimulate fat metabolism and whittle your waistline. An added bonus, thanks to the biotin found in yogurt, it helps increase nail strength.


Flaky scalps are often due to low levels of zinc. If oysters aren’t your thing, try dark-meat chicken, turkey, crab, dairy, or beans as an alternate source of zinc.

Hot Peppers

The compound capsaicin (this is what makes peppers hot) will boost your heart rate and speed your metabolism by 23 percent for an hour and a half after eating a meal with it. Peppers also contain vitamin C, which helps to protect your skin from damage.

Nuts and Seeds 

Don’t be afraid to go a little nuts! Snack on some almonds or sunflower seeds — they contain anti-inflammatory and immunity-enhancing nutrients, including vitamin E, one of the most important antioxidants for skin health. A ½ ounce serving of walnuts provides 100% of the recommended daily intake of ALA (Walnuts have lots of alpha-linolenic acid to keep skin moist and supple.

Leafy Greens 

Greens like spinach and arugula are stocked with naturally occurring antioxidants. Eat a mouthful to keep your complexion radiant and blemish-free. Free reign with Romaine! Six leaves provide more than 100% of the DV of Vitamin A which gives skin a refreshing boost of nutrients and oxygen by improving circulation.

Follow our advice, and people may need to start wearing shades around you — thanks to your flawless glow!