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Howard University Appoints First Black Woman Dean of College of Medicine For the First Time Ever

Howard University Appoints First Black Woman Dean of College of Medicine For the First Time Ever

For the first time in 154 years, Howard University has a Black woman Dean of College of Medicine.

Founded in 1868, Howard University’s College of Medicine has always had one goal: prepare its students to deliver care in medically underserved communities. According to The Department of Health’s Primary Care Bureau, Washington, D.C has nine designated Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs) and eight Medically Underserved Areas\Populations (MUA\P). Although not as high as California, who has 214 MUA/P, Howard University understands the severity of our current health care desert. According to KNH, nearly 80% of rural U.S. is considered medically underserved. From Texas to Oklahoma, our country is short on surgeons, medical specialists, and primary doctors.

With a living alumni of more than 4,000, Howard University’s College of Medicine produces a significant number of this country’s minority physicians each year. The Howard University Health Sciences Center includes the Howard University Hospital, founded in 1862. Originally called Freedmen’s Hospital, it provided refuge for ex-slaves who were denied medical care at other hospitals. In the 1860s, it formed an alliance with Howard University’s College of Medicine to train Black physicians. Also included is the College of Dentistry, established in 1881. As the fifth oldest dental school in the U.S., it has trained thousands of dental professionals. The College of Pharmacy is also a part of the Howard University Health Sciences Center and was founded in 1867. The first graduate of Howard University, James Thomas Wormley, received the Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the medical department. Also included in the Health Sciences Center is the College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library, and the Student Health Center.

With Howard University’s long history of providing care for undeserved communities, Andrea A. Hayes Dixon, M.D., FACS, FAAP is officially the first Black woman Dean of College of Medicine to continue its mission. Effective October 3rd, she will succeed Hugh MightyMD, MBA, FACOG, who served as dean since 2015.

“I am overjoyed to have the honor of announcing that for the first time in the college’s 154-year history, a Black woman will serve as the dean of the Howard University College of Medicine,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA.  

Howard University First Black Woman Dean of College of Medicine Hayes Dixon BOTWC

This isn’t the first time Hayes Dixon shattered a glass ceiling; In 2004, she became the first African-American woman to become a board-certified pediatric surgeon. Two years later, she became the first surgeon in the world to perform a high-risk life-saving procedure in teens with a rare form of abdominal cancer. Before becoming the first Black woman Dean of College of Medicine, she became the first woman chair of the Department of Surgery at Howard University.

“I am truly honored and humbled to lead the outstanding Howard University College of Medicine,” said Hayes Dixon. “The responsibility of educating the nation’s next generation of leaders in medicine is an enormous responsibility that I take very seriously. I am excited to engender allies and friends to join me in the journey of moving Howard forward,” she continued.

For Andrea A. Hayes Dixon, M.D., FACS, FAAP, medicine is the mission. Prior to joining Howard University, she served as the surgeon-in-chief and division chief of pediatric surgery at the University of North Carolina Children’s Hospital, where she also served as a professor of pediatric surgery and surgical oncology. As Dean of College of Medicine, she will oversee all aspects of academic and administrative affairs for the college. She will continue to uphold Howard’s duty of preparing students for health care deserts and medically underserved communities. She will continue to help contribute to this nation’s number of minority physicians. 

Hugh Mighty, MD, MBA, FACOG has passed the baton, and Hayes Dixon will continue to run the race.

Because of those who came before us, we can!