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Notable African American Figures

New York Medical College has a long history and powerful tradition of fostering diversity among its students, faculty and patient populations. The College has stood as a bastion against bigotry in medical education since its founding, with many notable firsts, including graduating more Black M.D.s in the late 19th and early 20th centuries than any other NYC medical school, graduating the first female African American physician in New York state (who was also the third in the nation) and the nation’s first African American female dean of a white majority medical school.

In 1928, the College was the first white majority medical school to offer a scholarship program specifically to support underreprented students. NYMC admitted Black students at a time when most medical schools did not, and many of our graduates were important figures in the Harlem medical community during the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance.

The College has a strong history of involvement in the social and environmental determinants of health and disease with a special concern for the underserved. It is the cornerstone of New York Medical College’s proud history, and continues as a vital part of its mission today.

Read about notable physicians, health professionals and industry leaders at NYMC who were part of history. 


Geraldine Burton Branch, M.D. '36     Geraldine Burton Branch, M.D. '1936, (1908-2016)
Distinguished physician, educator and public health professional
  Walter Gray Crump, M.D. '1895, (1869-1945)
Established first scholarship for African American medical students in the U.S.
Clarence Sumner Janifer Sr., M.D. ’1915 small   Clarence Sumner Janifer Sr., M.D. ’1915, (1886 –1950)
First African American member of the Medical Society of New Jersey, and distinguished physician and public health advocate for the underprivileged African American community of the City of Newark.
  Myra Adele Logan, M.S., M.D. '1933, (1908-1977)
First woman to perform open heart surgery and the first African-American woman elected a fellow of the American College of Surgeons; first recipient of the Walter Gray Crump Scholarship for Young Women


Phyllis Harrison-Ross, M.D., (1936-2017)
Mental health pioneer
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, emeritus
  Alonzo Potter Burgess Holley, M.D. '1888, (1865-1943)
First graduate of New York Medical College of African descent
  Susan S. McKinney-Steward, M.D. '1870, (1847-1918)
First African-American woman to earn a medical degree in New York state
  Jane Cooke Wright, M.D. '1945, (1919-2013)
First African-American women to be named associate dean of a medical school

For more notable figures visit Notable and Historical Figures.
For more on the College history take a look at the virtual timeline.