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Dr. Charles Whitten

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Information about Dr. Charles Whitten

Profile image of Dr. Charles Whitten

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Pediatrician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Paella
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Nassau, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Do The Best You Can.

Birthplace

Born:
2/2/1922
Birth Location:
Wilmington, Delaware

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Pediatrician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Paella
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Nassau, Bahamas
Favorite Quote:
Do The Best You Can.

Birthplace

Born:
2/2/1922
Birth Location:
Wilmington
See how Dr. Charles Whitten is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Pediatrician and sickle cell anemia expert Dr. Charles Francis Whitten was born on February 2, 1922 in Wilmington, Delaware to school teachers Emma Clorinda Carr Whitten and Tobias Emmanuel Whitten. He grew up on Wilmington’s East Side next door to future jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown. Whitten attended Number 5 Elementary School and graduated fourth in his class from Howard High School in 1940. In 1942, he earned his B.S. degree in zoology from the University of Pennsylvania. Whitten then studied medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee and earned his M.D. degree in 1945 at age twenty-three.

After his internship at Harlem Hospital, Whitten worked as a general practitioner in Lackawanna, New York from 1946 to 1951.Whitten then served two years as a captain in the United States Medical Corps before returning to the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Medicine for a year of advanced study in pediatrics. In 1953, Whitten began a two-year residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York. In 1955, he moved to Detroit, Michigan for a one year fellowship to study pediatric hematology under Dr. Wolf Zeltzer. Whitten became the first and only African American to head a department in a Detroit hospital when he was selected clinical director of pediatrics at Detroit Receiving Hospital in 1956. Whitten worked as an attending pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Michigan from 1962 to 1999. He started teaching medicine as an instructor in pediatrics at Wayne State University in 1956. Whitten was named assistant professor in 1959, served as full professor of pediatrics from 1970 to 1990, and became associate dean of curricular affairs in 1976 and of special programs in 1992.

Whitten joined Dr. Charles Wright in establishing the African Medical Education Fund in 1960. In 1969, Whitten instituted Wayne State University’s Post Baccalaureate Enrichment Program to better prepare black students for medical school. In 1971, Whitten with Dorothy Boswell spearheaded the National Association for Sickle Cell Disease, now the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America. He also formed the Sickle Cell Detection and Information Center. Whitten became program director for the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at Wayne State University in 1973. In 2002, Whitten was named Michiganian of the Year, and in 2004, was named distinguished professor of pediatrics, emeritus at Wayne State University.

Whitten passed away on August 14, 2008 at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife, Eloise Culmer Whitten, an expert on pre-school reading. Together, they supported a number of worthy causes, including a clinic in Haiti.

Whitten was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 8, 2007.

See how Dr. Charles Whitten is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Charles Whitten's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Charles Whitten lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his maternal grandfather's farm, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his maternal grandfather's farm, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about his father's teaching career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his mother and paternal aunt
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his neighborhood in Wilmington, Delaware
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers Clifford Brown
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his childhood hip injuries
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his early personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers delivering African American newspapers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers his early educational experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Charles Whitten recalls his early religious experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers the radio programs of his youth
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes Howard High School in Wilmington, Delaware
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers his family's boarders
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers his decision to attend the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his experiences at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Charles Whitten recalls the establishment of his medical practice in Lackawanna, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his medical practice in Lackawanna, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Charles Whitten recalls his residency at The Children's Hospital of Buffalo in Buffalo, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers his courtship with his wife
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers his move to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers the sickle cell disease clinic at the Children's Hospital of Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about sickle cell diseases
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers the African Medical Education Fund
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers the all-black hospitals in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Charles Whitten recalls his challenges at the Detroit Receiving Hospital in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Charles Whitten reflects upon his career in medicine
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his advocacy for sickle cell patients
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about the evolution of the sickle cell trait
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes the National Association for Sickle Cell Diseases
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Charles Whitten remembers his partnership with the March of Dimes Foundation
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act of 1972
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes the advancements in sickle cell research
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about the incidence of sickle cell disease among African Americans
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Charles Whitten recalls his diversity initiative at the Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes the post baccalaureate program at the Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about sickle cell education in Africa and the Caribbean
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his preschool literacy program
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes the findings from his preschool literacy program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his motivation for researching literacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes the success of the post baccalaureate program at the Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about sickle cell disease awareness
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about the closure of all-black hospitals
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Charles Whitten reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes his family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Charles Whitten talks about his medical clinic in Haiti
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Charles Whitten describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Charles Whitten narrates his photographs