Black Leaders in Biomedicine: The Brilliant Scientists in our Past and Present


A diverse scientific community is essential to create and advance the biomedical breakthroughs that are so urgently needed in our complex and evolving world. In this spirit, NYSCF is honored to mark Black History Month and to celebrate the vital contributions of pioneering Black scientists whose work in translational disease research has inspired generations to continue to strive for equity and diversity in the ranks of biomedical research and inspires us to translate knowledge into action within our own lives and institutions.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Mary E. Mahoney, and Alexa Canady paved the way for a more equitable and diverse scientific community, inspiring so many other doctors, nurses, surgeons, and more to follow in their footsteps. In biomedical research, Black scientists have made pivotal advancements, creating therapies to treat blindness, discovering the first effective therapy for leprosy, improving drugs and chemotherapy, and many more. Here are some examples of outstanding Black pioneers of our past whose life stories and biomedical research achievements make it clear that the field would look very different today without them.



These pioneers of our past paved the way for the science we are able to do today. Today, Black scientists are advancing research that is improving human health across a range of disciplines, and many are also using their platforms to combat health disparities, champion outreach and broader engagement with underserved communities, and inspire the next generation. Here we highlight just a small selection of the many Black change-makers currently working in biomedical research: