Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
Throughout the month of February, we’ll be celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Black people who have changed the course of history through their pioneering work in the medical field. These brave men and women found ways to circumvent cultural and socioeconomic oppression to bring the world lifesaving and healthcare contributions. Today, we’re celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.
Dr. Williams performed the first successful open heart surgery in 1893 and founded Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses (the first black-owned hospital in America) in 1891. From 1893-1898, he was Surgeon-in-Chief, Freedmen’s Hospital, Washington, DC. He founded the National Medical Association in 1895 (African Americans were denied membership in the American Medical Association). As a charter member of the American College of Surgeons in 1913, he was the first and only African American member for many years.