Black History Month - Patricia Bath
This month, we would like to honor Black History Month by celebrating trailblazing Black healthcare workers who changed the industry. Patricia Bath marked history by becoming the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology, the medical branch concerned with eye and vision care. She would eventually become the first female chair of a residency program in ophthalmology in the nation in 1983.
As a resident in New York University's School of Medicine, Bath conducted a study that found a higher frequency of blindness among Black populations compared to white populations. This disparity motivated Bath to launch a new initiative called community ophthalmology.
Her passion for advancing the treatment of blindness continued throughout her life. In 1986, she invented a new device to perform cataract surgery called the Laserphaco Probe, a tool now used by ophthalmologists around the world. Bath's contributions to the ophthalmology field and her professional pursuit to cure blindness shaped a legacy that will live on to inspire future pioneers.