Seven African Americans Elected Into the National Academy of Medicine

The National Academy of Medicine, formerly known as the Institute for Medicine, was founded in 1970. Election to the National Academy of Medicine is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. With the 75 new members from the United States, there are now 2,178 active fellows of the National Academy of Medicine.

A JBHE analysis of the list of the 75 members of the latest cohort elected into the National Academy of Medicine finds that it appears that seven, or 9 percent, are Black. Most have current affiliations with academic institutions in the United States.

Here are brief biographies of the seven Black scholars who are in the latest cohort of new members of the National Academy of Medicine.

Giselle Corbie-Smith is the Kenan Distinguished Professor in the departments of social medicine and medicine and director of the Center for Health Equity Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She holds a master’s degree in clinical research from Emory University in Atlanta and a medical doctorate from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Evelynn Maxine Hammonds is the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science, a professor of African and African-American studies, and chair of the department of history of science at Harvard University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, a bachelor’s degree in physics from Spelman College in Atlanta, a master’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in the history of science from Harvard University.

Kunle Odunsi, is the M. Steven Piver Professor of Gynecologic Oncology, chair of the department of gynecologic oncology, and executive director of the Center for Immunotherapy at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. He holds a medical degree from the University of Ife in Nigeria and a Ph.D. from the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England.

Lori J. Pierce is a professor in the department of radiation oncology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine and vice provost for academic and faculty affairs at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She holds a medical degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Charles Rotimi is chief and senior investigator of the Metabolic, Cardiovascular, and Inflammatory Disease Genomics Branch and director of the Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health at the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. He was previously the director of the National Human Genome Center at Howard University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Benin in Africa, a master’s degree in health care administration from the University of Mississippi, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. both in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.

Sylvia Trent-Adams is a rear admiral and the deputy surgeon general in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Hampton University in Virginia, a master’s degree in nursing and health policy from the University of Maryland Baltimore, and a doctorate from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Kara Odom Walker is cabinet secretary in the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware, a medical doctorate from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and a master of public health degree from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.


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