Today’s African American mentors in surgery

The Melnick Medical Museum is pleased to host another banner exhibit from the National Library of Medicine. Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons is an exhibition celebrating the contributions of African American academic surgeons to medicine and medical education. It tells the stories of four pioneering African American surgeons and educators who exemplify excellence in their fields and believe in continuing the journey of excellence through the education and mentoring younger physicians and surgeons.

Dr. Sharon Henry

The traveling exhibit will be on display in Cushwa Hall (campus map) through October 10, 2014. It is free and open to the public during building hours.

Through contemporary and historical images, the exhibition takes the visitor on a journey through the lives and achievements of these academic surgeons, and provides a glimpse into the stories of those that came before them and those that continue the tradition today.

Freedmen's Hosptial, Howard University (1903) Courtesy of the Howard University Archives
Freedmen’s Hosptial, Howard University (1903) Courtesy of the Howard University Archives

The four pioneers are Alexa I. Canady, the first African American woman pediatric neurosurgeon; LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., cancer surgeon, and the first African American President of the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society; Claude H. Organ, Jr., general surgeon, and the first African American to chair a department of surgery at a predominantly white medical school; and Rosalyn P. Scott, the first African American woman cardiothoracic surgeon.

Dr. LeSalle Leffall, Jr.

Opening Doors is not intended to be an encyclopedic look at African American academic surgeons, but is intended to provide only a glimpse into the contributions that African American academic surgeons have made to medicine and medical education. We hope that through this exhibition we can bring these stories to light and inspire others to pursue careers in academic surgery.

An online web version of the exhibition is also available here.

This exhibition was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine and the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture.

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