Daniel Hale Williams (1856–1931) – Daniel Hale Williams III was born on January 18, 1856, in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, to Sarah Price Williams and Daniel Hale Williams II. The couple had several children, with the elder Daniel H. Williams inheriting a barber business.
After his father died, a 10-year-old Daniel was sent to live in Baltimore, Maryland, with family friends. He became a shoemaker’s apprentice, but disliked the work and decided to return to his family, who had moved to Illinois. Like his father, he took up barbering, but ultimately decided he wanted to pursue his education.
He worked as an apprentice with Dr. Henry Palmer, a highly accomplished surgeon, and then completed further training at Chicago Medical College. Williams pursued a pioneering career in medicine. An African American doctor, in 1891, Williams opened Provident Hospital, the first medical facility to have an interracial staff.
He was also one of the first physicians to successfully complete pericardial surgery on a patient. Williams later became chief surgeon of the Freedmen’s Hospital.
Leonidas Harris Berry, MD (1902 — 1995) – Leonidas Harris Berry, a renowned gastroenterologist, was the first Black doctor on staff at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, in 1946, but faced racism for years as he fought for the attending position. He was finally named to the attending staff in 1963 and remained a senior attending physician for the rest of his medical career.
In the 1950s, Berry chaired a Chicago commission that worked to make hospitals more inclusive for Black physicians and increased facilities in underserved parts of the city. Berry was also active in a civil rights group called the United Front that provided protection, monetary support, and other assistance to Black residents of Cairo, Illinois, who had been victims of racist attacks.
In 1970, he helped organize the Flying Black Medics, a group of practitioners who flew from Chicago to Cairo to bring medical care and health education to members of the remote community.
Elaine Batchlor, MD, MPH – Dr. Elaine Batchlor is the chief executive officer of MLK Community Healthcare, a health system that includes a state-of-the-art private safety net hospital, three clinics, the MLK Community Medical Group, community and population health programs and a philanthropy foundation.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University, a Masters of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Doctorate of Medicine from Case Western Reserve University. She is board-certified in both internal medicine and rheumatology.
Dr. Batchlor’s innovative work to increase access for underserved populations has been recognized nationally, earning her membership in the prestigious National Academy of Medicine, an academy committed to advancing health science and accelerating health equity.
In 2019, she was recognized as an Irvine Foundation California Leader. In July 2022, she was appointed as a Regent by Governor Gavin Newsom to a term expiring in 2033.