Compass Health Network


Celebrating Trailblazers in Medicine this Juneteenth

At Compass Health Network, we are proud to commemorate Juneteenth by honoring the groundbreaking achievements of four remarkable African American medical pioneers. Their contributions have paved the way for advancements in healthcare and continue to inspire us in our mission to provide comprehensive care for our communities in Missouri.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to earn an MD, broke barriers and set a precedent for future generations of African American women in medicine. Graduating from the New England Female Medical College in 1864, Dr. Crumpler dedicated her career to serving underserved communities, particularly freed slaves who had little access to medical care.

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright was a pioneering cancer researcher and surgeon whose contributions to chemotherapy revolutionized cancer treatment. As one of the few African American women in her field during the mid-20th century, Dr. Wright’s innovative research and clinical trials have saved countless lives and advanced our understanding of cancer therapy.

Dr. James Durham, an emancipated slave, became the first African American to formally practice medicine in the United States. His work in the late 18th century was particularly notable for his successful treatment of diphtheria patients during an epidemic in New Orleans, displaying his exceptional skill and dedication to patient care.

Dr. James McCune Smith, the first African American to earn a medical degree, was not only a physician but also an abolitionist and author. Educated in Scotland, Dr. Smith returned to the United States and became a prominent figure in both the medical field and the fight for civil rights, using his platform to advocate for equality and justice.

As we celebrate Juneteenth, we draw inspiration from these extraordinary individuals. Their legacy fuels our commitment at Compass Health Network to provide excellent and equitable healthcare services. Let us honor their memory by continuing to break down barriers and improve the health and well-being of all our community members.