10 inspiring Black healthcare pioneers

In the second of our articles recognizing and celebrating Black healthcare pioneers, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team showcases inspiring individuals who have led positive and life-changing advances in life-sciences.

Why we recognize inspiring healthcare pioneers in our international workplaces

PRMA Consulting is a member of Fishawack Health, and through our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives throughout the year, we encourage each other to learn more about everyone’s heritage and experiences to strengthen our appreciation and support of people who are marginalized within healthcare.

We believe that recognizing and celebrating a diversity of individuals contributes to our respectful, inclusive, and inspiring culture, which attracts a diverse team and serve an increasingly diverse customer group and society.

Highlighting 10 pioneers in healthcare

In this update we asked colleagues to showcase some of the achievements of Black pioneers in healthcare and to share why they are inspired by those pioneers. Here are the second five of the ten people we’ve chosen.

Dr Patricia Bath

Dr Patricia Bath was the first female African American doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention. It was the Laserphaco probe, an instrument and method for cataract treatments. For more than 30 years, she has helped restore the sight of individuals who had been blind.

In a career of firsts, Dr Bath was also the first African American to complete an ophthalmology residency with New York University’s School of Medicine, and the first female faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute.

Among her many achievements in healthcare, Dr Bath was also one of the founders of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness and in 1993 was named a “Howard University Pioneer in Academic Medicine”.

Growing up during the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Bath’s ambitions were shaped by  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work. Believing that “eyesight is a basic human right,” Dr Bath was a strong advocate of telemedicine, which uses technology to provide healthcare services in remote areas and to marginalized communities.

“I’ve enjoyed learning about some of the pioneers in healthcare, especially Dr Patricia Bath whose dedication brought about the revolutionary invention of laserphaco cataract surgery – it’s inspiring that one person’s commitment to excellence is changing the lives of so many people across the world.”

Colleague feedback

 

Dr Harold Moody

Dr Harold Moody was a physician and campaigner for racial equality who, after having been denied positions at Kings College London and Camberwell Board of Guardians due to racial prejudice, set up his own successful practice in 1913 in Peckham, London. This is commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque.

The racial prejudice that Moody experienced motivated his campaign for racial equality and he founded the League of Coloured Peoples. Moody fought for causes including employment rights and, in 1943, was appointed to a government advisory committee on the welfare of non-Europeans. In the same year he also took the chair of the London Missionary Society.

“I first read about Dr Harold Moody in the 100 Great Black Britons 2020 list, a wonderful celebration of the lives, stories, and contributions of Black people to British society. I know we cannot fully capture every experience, but I’m glad we have the chance to stop and reflect on some parts of our heritage that may have been overlooked or undervalued.”

Colleague feedback

 

Kimberly Wilson

In 2018, Kimberly Wilson founded HUED, a digital application that helps improve the patient care experience for Black and Latino populations.

“Black people, and those within the Latinx community, simply are not receiving the same quality of healthcare that our white counterparts receive,” says Kimberly Wilson. One of the ways we accomplish this is simple: make it easier for Black and Latino patients to find culturally competent healthcare providers who understand their needs.”3

Kimberly Wilson is working tirelessly to make quality care accessible for all. “There’s a 360 approach to seeking care and some cultural reprogramming that has to happen, so we want to increase incentives for communities of color to seek preventive health measures.3

“Kimberly Wilson is challenging the status quo for people of color and leading the way in healthcare tech that’s dedicated to the needs of those communities. It means a lot to me to see women innovating technologies, like our own female leaders in digital.”

Colleague feedback

 

Dr John Alcindor

Dr John Alcindor was a physician and activist for racial equality who, despite prejudice and discrimination, treated countless wounded soldiers during the First World War.

He did this as a British Red Cross volunteer because the Royal Army Medical Corps rejected his application based on his origin – even though he held a medical degree and had experience of working in his own practice and in several London hospitals.

After the war he became a senior district medical officer and carried out research in cancer, influenza, tuberculosis, and syphilis. His research set the groundwork for the correlation between poverty, low-quality food, and unbalanced diets in poor health.

“Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on, share, and learn about, some of the inspiring pioneers who have progressed healthcare. It helps me appreciate that even at the worst of times, you can still be determined and proud of who you are and what you want to be.”

Colleague feedback

 

Juliana Ansah

Juliana Ansah is Director at Black Leaders in Healthcare, a community of over 300 professionals who are passionate about mentoring, inspiring, and empowering Black Leaders in healthcare and investing in change for future generations to come.

In 2020, the Health Services Journal reported that close to 100 NHS trusts have no declared Black very senior managers and that 96 out of 214 providers (45%) did not have anybody Black in a very senior management position. Juliana Ansah is determined to overcome this lack of diversity in senior roles.

Juliana has more than 20 years’ experience in Health and Social Care improvement programs and is an Improvement and Change Management Specialist at one of the largest NHS Trusts in England. Juliana has worked for NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, several Mayors of London, and for the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Black healthcare professionals are overrepresented in low-pay, low-skill roles and underrepresented in senior management roles. I’d like more people to be aware of the support that is available through organizations such as Black Leaders in Healthcare, including 1-2-1 mentoring and online networks for students and professionals to exchange knowledge.”

Colleague feedback

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