Leaders in Nursing and Medicine to Celebrate in Honor of Black History and Heritage

Nursing and Medicine have been a key part of man’s existence for several centuries. Several individuals of Black Ancestry made immense contributions to the health sector over the years. The onus falls on us as nurses to celebrate these individuals who played a major role in setting the founding blocks of our profession. 

In this post, we will show you some leaders in nursing and medicine you should celebrate in honor of Black History and Heritage.

Nursing and Medicine Leaders to Honor During Black History 

Below are some leaders in nursing and medicine you should celebrate in honor of Black History and Heritage:

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth

Sojourner Truth is mostly recognized for her role as an avid abolitionist who escaped slavery. Not many recognize her as a nurse, however, she began serving as a nurse while she was a slave at the Dumont family home. Upon gaining her freedom, Truth went to Washington DC to work for the National Freedman’s Relief Association. This position required her to speak before Congress and she used this opportunity to advocate for formal nursing training programs. 

Patricia Bath

Patricia Bath is seen as one of the pioneers of Ophthalmology. She had a strong passion for eyesight and patient rights. She established the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in 1976. This institute helped to advocate for eyesight as one of the basic human rights. Before this, she was the first African-American to finish a residency in Ophthalmology in 1973. She was able to use teaching to impart her passion to the rest of the world. Bath served as one of the faculty members at the prestigious Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

It is almost impossible to discuss the Black history and not mention Harriet Tubman. However, not many people recognize her for her nursing exploits. Instead, we know her for helping more than 300 slaves gain freedom via the underground railroad. Tubman gained a reputation as an efficient nurse who had extensive knowledge of herbal and natural remedies during the Civil War. She provided treatment to soldiers who suffered from smallpox and dysentery. Interestingly, she was able to stay healthy while carrying out her duties. Even after the war, Tubman continued to care for people. She went on to establish a home to cater to the needs of senior citizens.

Mabel Keaton Staupers

Staupers had always met with resistance right from the start of her career. Most of the resistance she experienced was among segregated nursing programs. Rather than allow the surrounding situations to discourage her, she forged ahead in offering care to patients. While she did this, she continued to fight for racial equality. Her efforts didn’t go without reward as the American Nurses Association and US Army Nurse Corps were both desegregated.


Do you know any other nursing and medicine leaders to celebrate in honor of Black History and Heritage? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section. Visit Natty Nurses to view other articles to help you become a better nurse.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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