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Dr. Edith Irby Jones

Pioneering medical physician Dr. Edith Irby Jones was born on December 23, 1927 to Mattie Buice Irby, a maid, and Robert Irby, a farmer. As a child, Jones witnessed her older sister die due to a typhoid epidemic and was encouraged to pursue a career as a medical physician. She attended Langston Elementary School and Langston Secondary School both in Hot Springs, Arkansas. In 1944, Jones’ high school teacher helped her obtain a scholarship to attend Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee where she majored in chemistry, biology and physics. While at Knoxville College, Jones was an active member of the Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society and was initiated into the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. In addition, Jones was a member of the debate team, pep squad, drama club and the YMCA.

In 1948, nine years before the “Little Rock Nine” integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, Jones became the first African American admitted to the University of Arkansas College of Medicine. Although she was not provided with the same housing, dining or bathroom facilities as white students, Jones received support from her high school alumni, neighbors and a black-owned local newspaper, The Arkansas State-Press. Afterwards, she received an internship at the University Hospital in Little Rock. In Arkansas, Jones practiced medicine and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the Civil Rights Movement before moving with her family to Texas in 1958. In 1959, Jones began her residency in internal medicine at Baylor College of Medicine Affiliated Hospitals, but the hospital that she was assigned to segregated her, limiting her patient rosters. She completed the last months of her residency at Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., and in 1963, she received an academic appointment as a clinical assistant professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.

On May 4, 1979, Jones’ achievements were recognized by the State of Arkansas, and she was honored with the founding of the annual celebration of Edith Irby Jones Day. That following year, she became a founding member of the Association of Black Cardiologists Incorporated. In 1985, Jones became the first woman to be elected president of the National Medical Association, and in 1986, she led the United States Task Force on Health to Haiti where the medical and healthcare infrastructure were examined and potential solutions for the impoverished nation were explored.

In 1997, the Edith Irby Jones M.D. Hospital was opened in Houston, Texas. Later, in 2001, Jones was named in Black Enterprise Magazine’s selection of 101 leading black physicians in America. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her contributions to the medical field and the American Civil Rights Movement including: the Sinkler Miller Medical Association National Achievement Award, Kato Models Woman of the Year Award, Pioneer Award from the Student National Medical Association, Mickey Leland Certificate of Congressional Award, Bennett College Belle Ringer Image Award and the Oscar E. Edwards Memorial Award for Volunteers.

Jones was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 10, 2008.

Jones passed away on July 15, 2019.

Accession Number

A2008.041

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/10/2008 |and| 5/10/2010

Last Name

Jones

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Irby

Schools

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Langston High School

Knoxville College

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

First Name

Edith

Birth City, State, Country

Mayflower

HM ID

JON20

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Arkansas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Favorite Quote

I Love You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Texas

Birth Date

12/23/1927

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Houston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

7/15/2019

Short Description

Internal medicine physician Dr. Edith Irby Jones (1927 - ) integrated the University of Arkansas College of Medicine in 1950. In addition to practicing medicine, Jones served as president of the National Medical Association and on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine.

Employment

Baylor College of Medicine

Hermann Hospital

Favorite Color

Red and Black

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Edith Irby Jones' interview, session 1

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her relationship with her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her memories of her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her father's employment

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her sister's death

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her neighborhood in Conway, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers contracting rheumatic fever

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about the community of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her favorite teachers

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early activities

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the Union Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her decision to attend a private university

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her teenage social activities

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes the sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes the sights of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers Virginia Clinton Kelley

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her aspiration to become a doctor

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers enrolling at Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her work experiences at Knoxville College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her academic experiences at Knoxville College

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers joining the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her medical school applications

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her decision to attend the University of Arkansas Medical School

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her first day at University of Arkansas Medical School in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her experiences as the first black student at the University of Arkansas Medical School, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her transportation to the University of Arkansas Medical School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her apartment in Little Rock, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her private accommodations at University of Arkansas Medical School

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her experiences as the first black student at the University of Arkansas Medical School, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers opening a private medical practice in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her opportunity to attend medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Edith Irby Jones' interview, session 2

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her decision to practice medicine in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her children

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers moving to Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her residency at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers her activism with the Freedom Four

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls the support of Daisy Bates

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her decision to integrate an all-white medical school

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the support of H. Clay Chenault

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls opening a medical practice in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her medical office in the Third Ward of Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers joining the staff of Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her patients

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her teaching career, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones remembers the Civil Rights Movement in Houston, Texas

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her teaching career, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls the founding of the Association of Black Cardiologists

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her early involvement in the National Medical Association

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her mentor, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones recalls her agenda as president of the National Medical Association

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about the hot springs of Hot Springs, Arkansas

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her humanitarian work in Haiti, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her humanitarian work in Haiti, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes her hopes for the Haitian people

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones talks about her advocacy work

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones describes a hospital named in her honor in Houston, Texas

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Edith Irby Jones reflects upon her legacy

Dr. Hollis Underwood

Internal medicine physician Dr. Hollis Jonetta Crowe Underwood was born on October 29, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois to Robert Arthur and Janetta Martha Crowe. Underwood graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan in 1975. She attended the University of Maryland as a zoology major. Underwood then completed her M.D. degree at Howard University School of Medicine and did her post graduate residency training at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

In 1987, Underwood worked in the National Health Service Corps at Frederiksted Health Center in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. While there, Underwood co-chaired the 1989 Peer Review Committee at the Virgin Islands Medical Institute in Christiansted, Virgin Islands. Underwood then began working as the Medical Director and Acting Project Director for Frederiksted Health Center and as the District Health Officer at the Charles Harwood Memorial Hospital in Christiansted until 1990.

In 1990, Underwood was hired as the Lead Internist and Director of Hypertension & Lipid Clinic at the Ohio Permanente Medical Group in Parma, Ohio, before working as an intermediate Lipid Specialist for the American Heart Association at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1994, Underwood became a consultant for the Department of Community Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she worked until 2000.

In 1997, Underwood acted as a consultant on a sixteen member multi-disciplinary medical team that traveled to Dakar, Senegal to provide cardiovascular medical care for the community. The venture, Project MEDHELP, led by Albert F. Olivier, consisted of cardiothoracic and general surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, internists, public health experts, dermatologists and gynecologists.

In February 2000, Underwood became President of Sonoran Health Specialists, Inc., working alongside her husband Dr. Paul L. Underwood, Jr., in Scottsdale, Arizona. Underwood served on several boards and organizations including the Center for Women’s Health, Vibetree Foundation and Planned Parenthood. She is also active in several organizations including the Links, Inc., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Dr. Hollis Jonetta Crowe Underwood resides in Phoenix, Arizona with her family.

Dr. Hollis Jonetta Crowe Underwood was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 14, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.208

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/14/2007

Last Name

Underwood

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Holly

Schools

Cass Technical High School

University of Maryland

Howard University College of Medicine

Ernie Pyle Elementary School

Mayo Medical School

Lutheran Parish School

First Name

Hollis

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

UND02

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

If You Can't Be Who You Need To Be, By Remaining Who You Are.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Arizona

Birth Date

10/29/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Phoenix

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Salad

Short Description

Internal medicine physician Dr. Hollis Underwood (1957 - ) specialized in internal medicine and was president of Sonoran Health Specialists, Inc. in Arizona.

Employment

Sonoran Health Specialists, Inc.

Mayo Clinic

Ohio Permanete Medical Group

Charlest Harwood Memorial Hospital

Frederiksted Health Center

Favorite Color

Chartreuse

Timing Pairs
0,0:4757,167:5695,187:8844,288:9849,303:10318,312:10586,322:11122,337:15209,441:16683,467:16951,472:17554,483:18358,499:18626,504:19229,515:30944,671:32388,725:32768,732:34516,766:35580,782:39684,876:45840,1008:51134,1047:51926,1075:54230,1121:56534,1184:57182,1194:57470,1199:58190,1210:62366,1307:65246,1376:65678,1394:66110,1402:82676,1628:83084,1636:87912,1781:88456,1790:88728,1795:89136,1802:89408,1807:94000,1829:95470,1861:95750,1866:96520,1883:97010,1891:98620,2002:99390,2021:100580,2047:100860,2052:104080,2118:104990,2132:108280,2197:108910,2207:112480,2280:113110,2290:115210,2341:132256,2698:138557,2794:139040,2802:139316,2807:140627,2840:142007,2865:143456,2901:145181,2929:145457,2934:161758,3276:162646,3290:162942,3299:163978,3310:168190,3354$0,0:6834,173:7303,184:7571,189:7839,194:8375,203:10720,263:11926,289:12529,299:13467,317:14070,327:14405,333:14807,340:15410,351:15946,361:17487,401:18425,428:19095,442:19497,453:20301,468:20569,473:20971,539:28110,601:29070,614:29390,619:29790,625:35150,702:35630,710:36030,716:37070,740:38670,835:38990,841:39310,847:44490,896:51240,1118:72390,1612:72730,1618:73580,1631:74345,1637:78972,1774:97944,2172:103346,2278:103638,2283:103930,2288:105901,2342:123366,2701:128334,2838:128694,2844:130926,2898:134980,2936
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Hollis Underwood's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Hollis Underwood lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her paternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Hollis Underwood recalls living in Gary, Indiana and Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Hollis Underwood lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her neighbors in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes the socioeconomic climate of Gary, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes Ernie Pyle Elementary School in Gary, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Dr. Hollis Underwood recalls living on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her community in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers her father's death

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Hollis Underwood recalls moving to Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her early aspirations to become a doctor

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her peers at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers applying to college

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers the University of Maryland in College Park

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her professors at the University of Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Hollis Underwood recalls the summer program at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers Howard University College of Medicine

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her mentor, Dr. John Townsend

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers treating her first patient

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers her experiences at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers dating her husband, Dr. Paul Underwood

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her fellowship at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Hollis Underwood recalls working at the Frederiksted Health Clinic in St. Croix

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers becoming a mother

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Hollis Underwood reflects upon her humanitarian medical work

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers moving to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Hollis Underwood talks about her community activism

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Dr. Hollis Underwood describes her peers at Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan
Dr. Hollis Underwood remembers treating her first patient
Transcript
So you go to Cass Tech [Cass Technical High School, Detroit, Michigan], now for the benefit of our viewers, Cass Tech is considered, was considered one of the elitist schools of Detroit, Michigan?$$Um-hm.$$So now you go to Cass Tech and what, what happens there for you?$$Well, you know, well the first thing is that, and this was a new concept for us, but, you're right, it was a magnet school, but you had to test to get in but there was, there were some of us who were invited to attend. And we were invited to attend and become a part of science and arts curriculum, which was an honors curriculum and, and not knowing Detroit, so we're relatively new there, but my mother's [Jonetta Everette Crowe] best friend who was like a second mother to me in many ways, just said, "Oh, absolutely, this is an opportunity you don't want, you know, not take advantage of," and, and that was it. You know, that was it and I, Cass was--it opened up even broader horizons, now you know we used to call it the pickle factory 'cause it looked like a pickle factory, you know, it was a pretty big old school, we had to all take the city bus to go to school. But I went to school with some kids that were just incredible people, some of whom are friends to this day, some of whom have done some amazing things in this world, made some tremendous footprints.$$Okay give us a few names of people that that, that we might want to know about.$$Oh wow. Well one is David Alan Grier, who is a very well-known actor, and he was a Cass Techite, you know, a Cass Techie, and Wanda [Wanda Whitten-Shurney], oh gosh, I'm blocking out her last name, she's a hematologist, her father [HistoryMaker Dr. Charles Whitten] was a, a very, very well-known hematologist in Detroit, did a lot of ground breaking research with sickle cell disease and she was a classmate, actually not only in high school, but also medical school [Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C.], Harriet Covington [Harriet Covington-Smith], also a friend from medical school as well as high school, oh my gosh. And then, then you had the musicians who are amazing, Geri Allen, one of my classmates who is a very well-known established recording artist, straight ahead jazz pianist, J. Jones [ph.], a very accomplished saxophone player, I mean, so we, you know, we had all of the curriculums, then you had the perfor- the performing arts crowd and you know, and nobody gave any credence to the computer science club, but they're probably all, they've--$$(Laughter).$$--probably all became millionaires, up to the '90s [1990s], and we just lost track, I don't know (laughter).$$So--so Cass, they had a very fertile environment for you to grow, would you say (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Oh amazing. So, so much, I mean, you know, friends were attorneys and, and you know, the whole, you know the, the legacy, the Patti Coutiver [ph.], a very good friend of mine in high school, an attorney, her fam- her father was an educator, a very well established and well known educator. The former superintendent of schools [Cornelius L. Golightly], his daughter, Linnie Golightly [Linnie M. Golightly], was a classmate at Cass, so it was incredible and many of my friends wer- are physicians and, and, and attorneys and other careers that are considered leadership type careers as a result of that.$(Simultaneous) Do you recall your first assignment?$$Uh-huh. I was in community internal medicine, oh my goodness, ha, ha, with a gentleman who sadly, y- what I've come to realize is that some people's mediocrity prevents them from seeing the greatness in other people and they make it a conscious effort to put the squash on other people because of their own internal insecurity, and I saw a lot of that, I saw a lot of that, people hiding behind the shields of the Mayo Clinic [Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota] and with their own mediocrity. And I saw some things that really exposed what that whole experience was, was all about but, but I, I remember being nervous, a, a new intern, first rotation out of medical school [Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, D.C.] and a patient came in, he was very, very, very critically ill, we worked on him, you know, along with the, you know, the E- you know he came in through the ER [emergency room], I worked on him, did, you know, some things; read, worked, read, worked, you know, you had to really kind of move fast, got him kind of stabilized but you know, the, the attendings, consultants would always say, you know, call us, keep us posted, let us know what's going on. So maybe I called them at four o'clock and when I said, "I just wanted to let you know about the person came in and this is what happened and, you know, he's, he's doing better now." He said, "Well if he's still alive, call me in the morning," bam! Or, "We'll deal with it in the morning," and he hung up the phone on me, and I thought, okay so that, that, that was the first baptism by fire, and I realized, okay, so now I understand.$$So, so, so what did you do at that point when he did that to you?$$Oh, I--$$Were angered, or, or do you say, or what did you do?$$Oh, yeah (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) 'Cause you--$$--it angers you.$$--had a patient.$$But it makes you strong. Let me tell you something, and, and this is what the old folks say, if it doesn't kill you, it'll make you strong. It made you strong. Every little hurt, every little slight, every little obstacle, every little pin that was pushed in my side intentionally, and mes- mostly intentionally, it just made me stronger. I'm, I, I'm, I made sure that there wasn't anything in medicine that I had not seen or knew about and I've, I've made that my philosophy. And I read, I read the PDR ['Physicians' Desk Reference'] and never forgetting once, I went to see somebody at his office, one of the consultants and I had the PDR and I was reading about something, he said, "What are you doing? Reading the PDR?" You know, he was kind of snickering, kind of in a very snide, and I said, you know, and I just laughed and said oh no. Yeah, I was reading the PDR, as a matter of fact, I was gonna read every aspect of that drug, at least what we knew about so I would be that much better informed so.

Dr. Donna M. Mendes

Medical professor and vascular surgeon Dr. Donna M. Mendes was born to Benjamin and Bernice Mendes on October 25, 1951. The second of three children raised in Oceanside, New York, Mendes attended Hofstra University in New York in 1969. With the help of her parents and Hofstra University counselor, Beatryce Nivens, Mendes became a pre-med major and graduated from Hofstra University in 1973 with her B.A. in biology.

In 1973, Mendes enrolled in Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. Mendes chose to study peripheral vascular surgery, which is the treatment of the vessels that branch out of the heart. Mendes graduated the following year and became an intern at St. Luke’s Hospital and a visiting clinical fellow at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She became a resident at St. Luke’s in 1978, and a surgical resident two years later.

In 1981, Mendes was promoted to surgical chief resident at St. Luke’s Hospital, and served as a fellow in vascular surgery at Englewood Hospital in 1982. After completing her vascular surgery fellowship, Mendes returned to St. Luke’s Hospital and became an instructor in clinical surgery at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.

In 1986, Mendes married her husband, Ronald LaMotte, and became the first African American female vascular surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery. Mendes’ clinical research has focused on the effects of race on vascular disease, and she seeks to discover why peripheral arterial disease (blockages of blood vessels away from the heart) seems to impact African American patients more frequenctly, and with greater severity.

In 1990, Mendes became assistant clinical professor of surgery at Columbia University. She was hired as the chief of St. Luke’s Hospital’s Division of Vascular Surgery in 1993. Five years later, Mendes had become the senior attending surgeon in the Department of Surgery at St. Luke’s, and was hired as the attending vascular surgeon at the Department of Surgery Lenox Hill Hospital in 1999.

Mendes lives in Englewood, New Jersey, with her husband.

Donna M. Mendes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.116

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/28/2007

Last Name

Mendes

Middle Name

M.

Schools

Hofstra University

Columbia University

First Name

Donna

Birth City, State, Country

Oceanside

HM ID

MEN01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

I Love That.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

10/25/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Medical professor and vascular surgeon Dr. Donna M. Mendes (1951 - ) became the first African American female vascular surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery.

Employment

St. Luke's Hospital

Columbia University

Lenox Hill Hospital

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:10790,179:11205,185:11786,194:14608,347:26892,586:29963,646:30544,654:43771,830:44127,835:44661,844:48221,916:53116,996:76996,1221:77280,1226:77777,1234:82425,1313:82870,1319:84472,1344:86608,1373:87142,1382:87943,1411:89545,1437:92838,1483:98032,1520:98878,1550:99348,1556:109712,1665:111512,1698:115328,1787:116552,1820:116840,1825:133540,2004$0,0:3096,80:3698,89:4816,104:13502,307:17114,377:31522,588:33628,628:34096,635:36280,681:36592,686:43222,797:44782,829:45328,838:45718,844:47746,881:48214,888:50320,955:59060,983:59780,993:61140,1020:64580,1100:66100,1126:72100,1226:72420,1231:73460,1246:74420,1260:75300,1273:75860,1282:81220,1366:81700,1373:95231,1548:96232,1568:101006,1682:104856,1741:105164,1746:111480,1796
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Donna M. Mendes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes recalls celebrating the holidays

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about her parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her father's career and hobbies

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes recounts her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her early racial identity

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about her experiences in school

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about notable individuals from Roosevelt, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes recalls the assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her decision to pursue premed at Hofstra University

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes being encouraged to attend medical school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes recalls her first autopsy

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her classmates at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her experience at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City in the late 1970s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about her decision to pursue a surgical internship at St. Luke's Hospital

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes discusses the predominance of men in the surgical field

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her fellowship at Englewood Hospital

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes opening her own practice after the completion of her fellowship at Englewood Hospital

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about her mentor, Dr. Dardik

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes reflects upon her role as the first African American woman certified vascular surgeon

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her marriage to her husband, Ronald LaMotte

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her certification by the American Board of Surgery

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her challenges as an African American female doctor

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her specialty in limb salvage surgery

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about the risk factors for amputation

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about the prevalence of heart disease in black women

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her own research into vascular disease

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about racial discrimination in healthcare

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about her patient relationships

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes recalls being named the Teacher of the Year

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes the medical advancements she witnessed

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about her mentors

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes the diversity council at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes recalls her health outreach work with Maya Angelou

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her health advice for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about the importance of mentorship

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes reflects upon the role of women in the surgical field

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes reflects upon her career

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her goals and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about her involvement with The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes describes her youth education program

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Donna M. Mendes reflects upon her life

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DATitle
Dr. Donna M. Mendes talks about the prevalence of heart disease in black women
Dr. Donna M. Mendes recalls her health outreach work with Maya Angelou
Transcript
Why do you think minority women are suffering at higher rates than the general population for heart disease?$$Because risk factors are not controlled as much, because the younger black woman is exercising a lot more. Just, for instance, what I used to say is when I'm in my car, and I'm driving along say Park Avenue [New York, New York]. And I used to be at Lenox Hill Hospital [New York, New York], which is on 74th Street [sic. 77th Street]. So you're, you're passing Lenox, so you see all the women that were about this big. Then you get to 96th Street, and all of a sudden the body habit just changes. Now that's genes, but a lot of it changes also because--and I don't mean jeans with they put on.$$Yeah, yeah (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That's genes, but it's also--$$--the DNA, yeah.$$Yeah (laughter). But it's also what is, what is eaten. And so we have got to just be a little bit better about that too. So why does it affect black women more? Well, we're, we're not real complainers. So therefore, you might have a heart attack you think something else is going on as, as opposed to it really being an MI [myocardial infarction] and, and, and stress. Those are the reasons.$$And stress plays a much greater role than people have believed in the past?$$Absolutely, absolutely. And I, I don't know the pathophysiolog- physiological answer, but it does, it does play a role. The other reason why black women or African Americans period are affected more is that if, indeed, there is less blood flow to the heart muscle, the heart muscle will no longer pump effectively. It'll develop a, it will, it will develop a cardiomyopathy. So the muscle doesn't--when your, when, when your heart pumps, it's supposed--vigorously pump and get the blood out. But if you have heart disease or you've had some evidence of muscle damage, the heart doesn't, doesn't pump vigorously, so there's a lot of heart failure because of that. So it's--hopefully, hopefully, the message will get out.$My outreach with [HistoryMaker] Maya Angelou is not really my outreach. It was more the Association of Black Cardiologists [Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc.]. And they did a tape on emphasizing the risk factors for heart disease, and they had Maya Angelou speak. It was, it was a cut and paste. They had, they did an interview with, and Sylvia [Sylvia Woods] was a patient of mine, Sylvia of the renowned restaurant [Sylvia's Restaurant, New York, New York]. And she was such a great patient that as soon as we were able to do the angioplasty, she was able to, 'cause it was affecting her leg, she was able to walk really well. And so they, they interviewed me with, with Sylvia. They interviewed Maya. They interviewed Dr. Ann Brown [ph.], who's a professor of medicine at, up in Washington [D.C.] I believe. I could be wrong about where exactly she is. But she helped prove that not--that women who have heart attacks, black women who have heart attacks, have an increased risk of heart failure from this cardiomyopathy that I was discussing before. So that's certainly somebody that you should, that you should try to interview. But Maya spoke about what the risk factors were. And in the tape we have five generations of women who get together for this one Thanksgiving Day, and, and what we, what we strongly push in it is that rather than having Thanksgiving Day and eating the entire day and not getting up and walking around doing some exercise too, during the tape, they had their dinner, and then they went out. And this, and the older woman was with the young--with her god--with her grandchild, great-grandchildren. It was just wonderful. It was just that we--the, the emphasis again is on living and not just sitting. You know, it's like being participatory.