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American Urological Association Celebrates African American Urologists During Black History Month

BALTIMORE, Feb. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout the month of February, the American Urological Association (AUA) and Urology Care Foundation join our Nation as we formally celebrate the many contributions of African-Americans to American society and culture. While many people are familiar with such iconic figures as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, there are many lesser known Black men and women, including pioneers in medicine and urology, whose achievements should also be recognized.

Born in 1762 and living and working most of his life in slavery, Dr. James Durham is considered the first African American to work as a doctor in America.

In 1864, after years as a nurse, Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first African American woman in the United States to receive a medical degree, making her the first African American woman physician in the U.S.

In 1936, Dr. Richard Francis Jones (Dr. R. Frank Jones) became the first African American Diplomate of the American Board of Urology. He is the sixth African American ever to become a board-certified specialist in the U.S. At the time, Black physicians were not allowed to join medical specialty societies, which kept them from working in most hospitals. Dr. Jones is also the first African American member of the AUA.

Dr. Bobbilynn Hawkins is the nation's first African American full professor of urology and the sixth female urologist to be certified by the American Board of Urology. Additionally, she is the first female urologist in the United States Army, and served more than 30 years as a military command surgeon, earning the rank of Colonel and serving in the Gulf War.

While February brings extra attention to the contributions of African American pioneers, it also raises awareness of the prevalence of such urologic disease as prostate, kidney and bladder cancer disproportionality effecting the African American population, as well as the need for increased diversity within the practice of medicine to help provide culturally competent care.

In December, the AUA Board of Directors unanimously approved the creation of the AUA Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Task Force, which aims to identify specific and actionable steps for how the AUA can advocate for, and foster, a diverse and inclusive environment within the association, as well as the global urology community.

"The AUA Board of Directors shares the concerns of our members and patients regarding the inequalities existing within our society," said Scott K. Swanson, MD, AUA Board President. "Increasing our commitment to diversity and inclusion is key to ensuring future success for both the AUA and the specialty of urology, and I look forward to the Task Force's recommendations on education, research and advocacy-related initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion within these settings."

For more information about the life and legacy of Dr. Richard Francis Jones visit:

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology and has nearly 24,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.

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SOURCE American Urological Association and Urology Care Foundation