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A diverse and inclusive learning environment is key to a quality education and training in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.


For Black History Month, the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine honors African-American Physicians and Scientists who have made seminal contributions to our understanding of the causes of human diseases and the development of new treatments and cures.


Rebecca Lee Crumpler- the first black women in the United States to receive an MD degree. She earned her degree at the New England Female Medical College in Boston, Massachusetts and was the institution’s only black graduate.

Charles Richard Drew- Known as “father of blood banking” pioneered blood preservation techniques that saved thousands of lives through blood donations. “Drew’s doctoral research explored best practices for banking and transfusions, and its insights helped him establish the first large-scale blood banks. Drew directed the Blood for Britain project, which shipped much-needed plasma to England during World War II. Drew then led the first American Red Cross Blood Bank and created mobile blood donation stations that are now known as bloodmobiles.”

Louis Wade Sullivan- “ In 1975, he became the founding dean of what became the Morehouse School of Medicine — the first predominantly black medical school opened in the United States in the 20th century. Later, Sullivan was tapped to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he directed the creation of the Office of Minority Programs in the National Institutes of Health’s Office of the Director.”

Dr. Fitzalbert Marius- “he was a part of the team that performed the first open heart surgery in 1958. Dr Marius served in the segregated medical unit in the U.S. Army during WWII (1942-1946). After the war he completed studies at the university and his classmates urged him to apply to medical school instead of following his first love of art and clothing design. He flipped a coin to make his decision. Lucky for us the coin landed on heads and he entered Howard Medical School in Washington D.C.”

Alice Ball- African American chemist who developed the first successful treatment for those suffering from Hansen’s disease (leprosy)

Percy Julian- African American chemist who pioneered the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs such as cortisone, steroids, and birth control pills.

Jane C. Wright- Pioneering cancer researcher and surgeon noted for her contributions to chemotherapy.Wright is credited with developing the technique of using human tissue culture cells rather than laboratory mice to test the effects of potential drugs on cancer cells. She also pioneered the use of the drug methotrexate to treat breast cancer and skin cancer (mycosis fungoids)”

Ernest Everett-a pioneer in the field of biology, academics, and scientific writing. “Dr. Just’s primary legacy is pioneered many areas on the physiology of cell development, including fertilization, experimental parthenogenesis, hydration, cell division, dehydration in living cells, and UV carcinogenic radiation effects on cells.”

Vivian W. Pinn, MD– is an American physician-scientist and pathologist known for her advocacy of women’s health issues and concerns, particularly for ensuring that federally funded medical studies include female patients, and well as encouraging women to follow medical and scientific careers.

Kizzy Corbett, PhD (UNC)- received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology in 2014 who has led the successful efforts to develop a COVID-19 virus at the Vaccine Research Center at the NIAID.

And UNC Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine’s own pioneers:

Georgette Dent, MD-

Craig Fletcher, DVM, PhD-

Robert L. Reddick, MD- The first Brinkhous Professor of Pathology


UNC Pathology staff at work