31 October 2016

There are many honourable black figures in our history, from people who paved the way during the Civil Rights Movement to those who have led countries and continents. In this post I want to resurface those who have made a huge impact in the scientific field. Why science? Because I have a Chemistry degree and hardly talk science... and I do slyly miss it.

Whilst doing my research, one lady that stuck out to me was Patricia Bath. This remarkable woman was born in 1942 in New York and graduated early from high school. She then went onto study Chemistry at New York's Hunter College, before gaining a doctoral degree from Howard University College of Medicine. That’s all good and well but why did she stand out to me so much? Because she was a first kind of lady:

Image source: Google
  • First black person to reside in ophthalmology at New York University,
  • First African American woman to serve as a surgeon at UCLA Medical Centre,
  • First to ever receive a medical patent for her invention ‘Laserphaco Probe’, used for treating cataracts
  • Founder of American institute for the Prevention of Blindness

Image source: Google

Patricia Bath’s resilience and passion for helping others led her to accomplish great things, even in the midst of sexism, racism and poverty. She had no black role models in the industry she wanted to go into, let alone women. Being a physician was a very male dominated role. In addition at that time there were no high schools in Harlem and black people were mostly excluded from many medical school and societies. Yet Dr Bath didn’t let that stop her, and her parents were her number one supporters.

Image source: Google 

I encourage you, especially as we in the UK are still celebrating Black History Month, to find out about someone new. Find someone in your areas of interest and share with others. We all need to learn a bit more.

Natalie | @Pursueinspire

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