Dr. Helen Octavia Dickens
In 1934, when 25-year old Helen Octavia Dickens graduated with an M.D. degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine, she was the only black female in her class. In 1948, Dickens became the director of the Mercy Douglass Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Philadelphia. In 1950, she became the first black female fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dickens also taught at the University of Pennsylvania as an instructor, and then a professor, and was appointed professor emeritus in 1985.