Dr. Patricia Bath
1980s — Dr. Patricia Bath was born in Harlem, N.Y. in 1942. Bath earned a B.A. in chemistry from New York’s Hunter College in 1964, and a doctoral degree from Howard University in 1968. As an intern at Harlem hospital Bath’s noticed disparities in the number of eye procedures performed on Black and low income patients despite the high cases of blindness among the communities. She later persuaded her professors at Columbia University to perform free eye procedures on Harlem Hospital patients, and in 1970 became the first black person in her field to serve in ophthalmology at New York University.
In 1981 she began work on the device to improve laser eye surgery and reduce patient pain. She earned a patent for the invention in 1988, becoming the first female Black medical doctor to do so for a medical practice.