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Sarah Loguen Fraser, Pioneering Doctor

Sarah Loguen Fraser’s childhood home in Syracuse, NY, was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Over the years, her parents harbored some 1,500 people fleeing north to escape slavery. Many arrived sick or injured, and Fraser grew up tending to their needs. She resolved to learn medicine in order to help people more.

In 1876, Fraser became the first woman to earn an M.D. at the Syracuse University College of Medicine. She is believed to be only the fourth black woman to become a licensed physician in the U.S.

After marrying pharmacist Charles Fraser, she moved with him to the Dominican Republic. Fraser quickly learned Spanish. In 1884, two years after arriving in the country, she passed certification exams and became the first woman licensed to practice medicine there.

Her husband’s income was more than enough to meet their needs, so Fraser offered free treatment to the poor. Thanks to her, hundreds of families got medical care for the first time.

After her husband’s death, she returned to the U.S. and continued practicing in New York State and Washington, D.C.

Today, the doctors and nurses at Children’s Health Fund carry on Sarah Loguen Fraser’s legacy by providing free or low-cost care to children who need it. Some of our patients, like hers, get their first-ever health care in our clinics. Like her, we’re determined to offer the highest standard of care to everyone who comes to us.

Want to help? We’re partnering with Colgate-Palmolive for Black History Month. For every post you share of a smiling child on Twitter or Instagram, they’ll donate $1! Just use the #StartWithASmile hashtag.

Now that’s something to smile about!