To mark the end of Black History Month on Sunday, February 28, and to mark the beginning of Women’s History Month on Monday, March 1, we would like to take this opportunity to honor Doris Wethers, MD.
In 1958, Dr. Wethers became the first Black Attending Physician at Mount Sinai Morningside, then St. Luke’s Hospital, where she specialized in pediatrics. Dr. Wethers became the Chief of Pediatrics at St. Luke’s in 1974, holding that position until 1979. Throughout her career, Dr. Wethers and her sickle cell team studied and developed several protocols, and improved the detection, treatment, and life expectancy of sickle cell patients, and called greater attention to sickle cell anemia. Throughout her career, the average life expectancy of children born with sickle cell rose from about 18 to 50. In 1987, Dr. Wethers chaired the panel on sickle cell screening commissioned by the National Institute of Health (NIH) which recommended that all newborns, regardless of ethnicity, be routinely tested for sickle cell anemia—a policy that was implemented nationwide by 2006.
Dr. Wethers died in 2019 at the age of 91, but we remember her for being a trailblazer for both women and people of color in the medical field, and for her tireless efforts, as a true pioneer, to serve those living with sickle cell disease.
At Mount Sinai Morningside and the Mount Sinai Health System, we remain committed to maintaining our momentum and advancing our efforts to be the leader among health systems in New York and the United States by eliminating structural and systemic racism, addressing disparities within health care, and by looking ahead in solidarity with all members of the Black community and for all women.
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