Science - Technology

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright was an American oncologist who made significant contributions to cancer research and treatment. She was born on November 30, 1919, in New York City, and she passed away on February 19, 2013. Dr. Wright came from a family of medical professionals. Her father, Dr. Louis Tompkins Wright, was one of the first African-American graduates of Harvard Medical School and a prominent surgeon. Her mother, Dr. Corinne Cooke Wright, was a public school teacher and social worker.

Jane Cooke Wright earned her undergraduate degree from Smith College in 1942 and received her medical degree from New York Medical College in 1945. She initially wanted to become a surgical specialist, but her interest shifted to cancer research and treatment after observing her father’s work as a surgeon.

Jane Wright, with her husband and daughters

Dr. Wright’s pioneering work focused on cancer chemotherapy and the use of various drugs to treat cancer. She conducted extensive laboratory research to identify the most effective drugs and their dosages for different types of cancer. She was one of the early proponents of combination chemotherapy, which involves using multiple drugs simultaneously to enhance their effectiveness.

In 1949, Dr. Wright became the highest-ranking African-American woman at a medical institution when she joined the staff of New York University (NYU) Medical Center. She eventually became an associate dean and a professor of surgery at NYU.

Dr. Jane Wright with President Lyndon Johnson and Dr. DeBakey

Throughout her career, Dr. Jane Cooke Wright made significant contributions to the field of cancer research. Her work paved the way for the development of new treatment protocols and improved survival rates for cancer patients. She was known for her dedication to providing equal access to cancer treatment, regardless of a patient’s race or socioeconomic background.

Dr. Wright received numerous honors and awards for her achievements. She was elected as the first woman president of the New York Cancer Society and served on several national and international cancer research committees. In 1967, she was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the President’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke.

Dr. Jane Wright

Dr. Jane Cooke Wright’s legacy continues to inspire and influence the field of oncology. Her groundbreaking research and advocacy efforts have contributed to advancements in cancer treatment and have helped save countless lives.

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