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CASSS Reflections of Black History Month: 2024

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February 29, 2024
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Each February, the world recognizes Black History Month by highlighting the many accomplishments of blacks including the revered civil rights activist Martin Luther King and inventors such as Otis Boykin, who created a control unit that improved the lifesaving device, the pacemaker. We salute and honor Black medical innovators who have made a substantial impact in the advancements in medicine.

Two female and one male Black students standing outside on grass lawn in front of brick buildings.

From left to right: Olubukola Abiona, Geoffrey Hutchinson, and
Cynthia Ziwawo

This year, we highlight three emerging professionals who played key roles in the speed of the development of the COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic. Working with Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett at the Vaccine Research Center at the US National Institutes of Health were three colleagues, Olubukola Abiona, MD/PhD Candidate, Case Western Reserve University, Geoffrey Hutchinson, PhD candidate, University of Washington, and Cynthia Ziwawo, MD candidate at Indiana University School of Medicine.

This is a clear example of organizations and institutions that pledged their commitment to close the disparity gap in the representation of women, people of color, and underrepresented minorities. These future leaders are moving closer to their goals to make healthcare accessible to all and encouraging other minorities to pursue careers in STEM.

CASSS salutes these emerging professionals as they help pave the way to scientific progress for individuals from all racial and ethnic groups. Find out more about these future change makers in this article.