Celebrating Black leaders in health care during Black History Month

Four portraits (Dr. Minnie Joycelyn Elders, Mary Mahoney, Dr. James McCune Smith,  Dr. Dolores C. Shockley.)
Dr. Minnie Joycelyn Elders, Mary Mahoney, Dr. James McCune Smith, Dr. Dolores C. Shockley.

Every February, we observe Black History Month — a period of collective observance, celebration and recognition of the contributions and accomplishments of Black Americans who have strengthened our society and communities — throughout history and today.

“While Black history is made year-round, throughout the month of February, we take great pride in amplifying the lasting impacts and immense sacrifices Black Americans have made and continue to make to help build a more equitable health care ecosystem,” said David Casey, Senior ​​Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health.

This month CVS Health is recognizing the significant contributions of Black Americans in health care, including James McCune Smith, the first Black male to earn a medical degree; Mary Mahoney, the first Black American licensed nurse; Dr. Alexa Canady, the first Black woman neurosurgeon in the U.S.; Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first Black female physician; and Dr. Donna Christian-Christensen, the first Black woman physician in Congress. They fuel CVS Health’s ongoing work to help increase access to health care and address health disparities and social determinants of health like housing, food, education and employment in communities of color.

“This Black History Month we celebrate not only health care leaders, but every Black person doing extraordinary things to help advance our society,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Vice President and Chief Health Equity Officer at CVS Health. “Most of someone’s health has nothing to do with what happens inside the walls of a doctor’s office or hospital, and we must continue to work together to assure everyone has the opportunity to achieve optimal health.”