Celebrating Notable Cancer Research Achievements During Black History Month

February is Black History Month and a time to celebrate and reflect on the numerous achievements made by African American individuals who have had an impact on cancer research.

The following are three extraordinary African Americans whose developments have had an influence on cancer research:  

  1. Dr. Jane Cooke Wright (1919-2013) — A pioneer in cancer research and surgeon, Wright is credited for developing new techniques in cancer chemotherapy. By 1967, she was the highest-ranking African American woman at New York Medical College where she was an associate dean. In 1971, Wright became the first woman president of the New York Cancer Society.
  1. Marie Maynard Daly (1921-2003) — Known for being the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry, Daly received a grant from the American Cancer Society in 1948. She began working in the research lab of Dr. Alfred E. Mirsky at the Rockefeller Institute where she focused on cancer research.
  1. Jewel Plummer Cobb (1924-2017) — An educator and researcher, Cobb contributed to the field of chemotherapy with her research on how drugs affected cancer cells. Widely known for her work with skin pigment, Cobb also encouraged women and ethnic minorities to enter the sciences by privately funding a program for minority students in pre-medical and pre-dental studies at Connecticut College. Throughout her career she received multiple research grants from the American Cancer Society.

Gilda’s Club Westchester offers a monthly support group specifically for women of color. Sistah’s Circle is a self-facilitated group of women of color who have been touched by any type of cancer. This group gathers via Zoom, to offer women who are newly diagnosed and those who are survivors a supportive and informative forum to connect, share experiences and address issues regarding how cancer specifically impacts communities of color. For more information on support groups at GCW visit our website or call 914-644-8844.