Charles R. Drew

Dr Charles R Drew was an African-American surgeon who pioneered methods of storing blood plasma.

Dr Charles R Drew was an African-American surgeon who pioneered methods of storing blood plasma. He directed plasma programs of the United States and Great Britain in World War II, but resigned after a ruling that the blood of African-Americans would be segregated

Born in Washington, D.C., Drew attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, where his track and football prowess earned him the Mossman trophy as the man who contributed the most to athletics. He entered McGill University School of Medicine in Montreal, became an Alpha Omega Alpha Scholar and won the J. Francis Williams Fellowship, given to the top five students in his graduating class. He received his MD degree in 1933 and served his first appointment as instructor in pathology at Howard University from 1935 to 1936.

In 1938 Drew was awarded a two-year Rockefeller fellowship in surgery and began postgraduate work, earning his Doctor of Science in Surgery at Columbia University. His doctoral thesis, β€œBanked Blood,” was based on an exhaustive study of blood preservation techniques and thus began his ultimate destiny in serving mankind. World War II wounds and injuries were becoming more severe, and the need for blood plasma intensified.

Drew, as the leading authority in the field, was selected medical director of the Blood for Britain project, and 14,500 pints of vital plasma were collected for the British wounded.

Drew began what became known as bloodmobiles – trucks containing refrigerators of stored blood. He also created a central location blood collection where donors could give blood. He made sure all blood plasma was tested before it was shipped out. He ensured that only skilled personnel handled blood plasma to avoid the possibility of contamination.

In 1941, Drew became director of the first American Red Cross Blood Bank. That year Drew became the first African-American surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery. The NAACP awarded him the Spingarn Medal in 1944 in recognition of his work on the British and American projects. Virginia State College presented him an honorary Doctor of Science degree in 1945, as did his alma mater Amherst in 1947.

Prints are 13" x 19" on heavy paper. Shipped in a mailing tube. These prints are made at our location in Seattle, WA.

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Ernest Crichlow
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