In honour of Black History Month we will be recognising notable contributions to the STEMs from people of African origin. Today we recognise Dr. Patricia Bath.
Born in 1942, Dr. Bath is an opthamologist and inventor famously known for breaking ground as the first black woman to achieve certain milestones including heading a post-graduate training program in opthamology, becoming a staff surgeon at UCLA and been made an honorary staff member at the same institute. She was born and raised in Harlem to parents from Trinidad and early on showed signs of her future excellence.
Having been a recipient of a scholarship in High School, she undertook a research project at Yeshiva University and Harlem Hospital Centre which piqued her interest in medicine. She subsequently went on to complete a Chemistry degree in 1964 and her doctorate in 1968. Early on in her career, she noticed the prevailing poor standard of eye care amongst African Americans and choose to do something about it. As part of her efforts, She persuaded her professors from Columbia to operate on blind patients at Harlem Hospital Center, which had not previously offered eye surgery, at no cost. She went on to found the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness as well as co-found the King-Drew Medical centre opthamology training program.
Aside from her medical career, Dr. Bath holds four patents in the US with the most famous been a probe which aids in the surgical removal of cataracts and is currently used world wide. Dr. Bath has also been honored by two of her universities, ; unter College placed her in its “hall of fame” in 1988 and Howard University declared her a “Howard University Pioneer in Academic Medicine” in 1993