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African American Scientists

Patricia Bath (1942-2019)

Patricia Bath

  • First gained awards for her scientific research at age 16

  • Following medical training at Howard University, Harlem Hospital, Columbia University, in 1970 she became the first African American Resident in ophthalmology at New York University.   

  • 1974 - Became the first woman ophthalmologist to be appointed to the faculty of UCLA School of Medicine, Jules Stein Eye Institute

  • 1977 - Co-founded the American Institute for the prevention of Blindness, based on the principles that eyesight is a basic human right, and eye care should be available to all, regardless of economic status.  

  • 1983 - Became the first woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the United States

  • 1986 - Discovered and invented a new device & technique for cataract surgery, laserphaco

  • While Dr. Bath officially retired in 1993, she continued to work to advocate for telemedicine to help provide access to care in remote locations where health care is limited, until her death in 2019. 


Image credit: U.S. National Library of Medicine, via Changing the face of medicine