Health Careers Program History
It was as early as 1904, when a Spelman graduate, Dr. Georgia Dwelle, became the College’s first M.D. In the following years, though not in overwhelming numbers, graduates of the institution have continued to enter the field of medicine. Subsequently, a formal Health Careers Program was established at Spelman College in 1971.
Between 1904 and 1972, 16 graduates received M.D. degrees and between 1971 and 1974, eight graduates received M.D. degrees. Spelman College, therefore, produced 24 of the Black female doctors in the United States. Finally, the formalization of the Health Careers Program was a major step taken in an attempt to increase the number and caliber of Black women entering all areas of the health career industry.
There were many improvements made at Spelman regarding the academic offerings for students interested in medicine, dentistry, or any other health career field. In 1972, parallel to the establishment of the Health Careers Program, the College developed the Division of Natural Sciences. The Division of Natural Sciences offered students several options within the sciences and in mathematics.
To date, the primary goal of the Spelman College Health Careers Program “remains” to significantly increase the number of highly qualified African Americans and minority women entering the health/allied health professions. Meeting this goal will improve the minority health care provider/patient ratio, and exert a positive impact on primary health care for disadvantaged individuals. Spelman College, as an institution noted for the development of highly motivated young women, remains in the unique position of being able to help produce competent health professionals and has successfully done so for over 40 years.