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Dr. Patricia Bath

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Information about Dr. Patricia Bath

Profile image of Dr. Patricia Bath

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Physician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Fruit
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Yes.

Birthplace

Born:
11/4/1942
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Physician

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Fruit
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
Yes.

Birthplace

Born:
11/4/1942
Birth Location:
New York
See how Dr. Patricia Bath is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Medical scientist Patricia E. Bath was born on November 4, 1942 in Harlem, New York. Bath’s father, Rupert, was a Trinidadian immigrant and the first black motorman in the New York City subway system; her mother, Gladys, was a descendant of African slaves and Cherokee Native Americans and worked as a housewife and domestic. Bath attended Julia Ward Howe Junior High School and Charles Evans Hughes High School. In 1959, Bath received a grant from the National Science Foundation to attend the Summer Institute in Biomedical Science at Yeshiva University in New York, where she worked on a project studying the relationship between caner, nutrition, and stress. Bath went on to graduate from Hunter College in New York City with her B.S. degree in chemistry in 1964. She then attended Howard University Medical School. Bath graduated with honors in 1968 with her M.D. degree and also won the Edwin J. Watson Prize for Outstanding Student in Ophthalmology.

From 1970 until 1973, Bath was the first African American resident in ophthalmology at new York University’s School of Medicine. During this time, she married and gave birth to a daughter, Eraka, in 1972. In 1973, Bath worked as an assistant surgeon at Sydenham Hospital, Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospital, and Metropolitan Surgical Hospital, all in New York City. In 1974, she completed a fellowship in corneal and keratoprosthesis surgery. Then, Bath moved to Los Angeles, California where she became the first African American woman surgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center. She was also appointed assistant professor at the Charles R. Drew University. In 1975, Bath became the first woman faculty member of the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute.

In 1981, Bath conceived of her invention, the Laserphaco Probe. She traveled to Berlin University in Germany to learn more about laser technology, and over the course of the next five years, she developed and tested a model for a laser instrument that could be tested to remove cataracts. Bath received a patent for her invention on May 17, 1988, and became the first African American female doctor to receive a patent for a medical invention. She continued to work at UCLA and Drew University during the development of her laser cataract removal instrument, and, in 1983, she developed and chaired an ophthalmology residency training program. From 1983 to 1986, Bath was the first woman chair and first female program director of a postgraduate training program in the United States. In 1993, Bath retired from the UCLA Medical Center. Bath was inducted into the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame in 2001.

Patricia E. Bath was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 29, 2012.

Path passed away on May 30, 2019.

See how Dr. Patricia Bath is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Patricia Bath's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Patricia Bath lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her mother's move to New York City
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her paternal great-great-grandfather, Jonas Mohammed Bath
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her father's career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her father's experiences as a merchant seaman
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her likeness to her parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her brothers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers her home life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers the Harlem community in New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers her childhood pastimes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her early education, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls her aspiration to become a doctor
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her early education, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers Dr. Albert Schweitzer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls the era of school desegregation
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her high school science fair experiment
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers Charles Evans Hughes High School in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers her early scientific achievements
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls her scholarship to Hunter College in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls her activities at Hunter College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers the social organizations at Hunter College
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls her admission to the Howard University College of Medicine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers her mentors at the Howard University College of Medicine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her early interest in ophthalmology
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes the medical licensing process
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls her internship at New York City's Harlem Hospital
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her role in the Poor People's Campaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers the birth of her daughter
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her decision to become a single parent
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls joining the faculty of the Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers her fellowship in keratoprosthesis
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes the founding of the Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls the start of her medical career in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes the development of community ophthalmology
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her study of blindness in the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers inventing the laserphaco probe, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers inventing the laserphaco probe, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about the advancements in ophthalmological laser surgery
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Patricia Bath recalls becoming the chief of ophthalmology at the Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes the procedure for cataract surgery
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers her decision to retire
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her artistic interests
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her involvement in the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her involvement in the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Patricia Bath reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Patricia Bath reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Patricia Bath remembers the support of her parents
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Patricia Bath talks about her daughter
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Patricia Bath describes how she would like to be remembered