Sara Josephine Baker and Louise Pearce
Icons of Science in the LGBT Community
LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community, and makes the civil rights statement about our extraordinary national and international contributions.
This month, CBD College celebrates exceptional scientists in the LGBT community.
Meet Sara Josephine Baker
Born: November 15, 1873
Died: February 22, 1945
Origin: New York
Dr. Sara Josephine Baker got her M.D. from the Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary in 1898. Her private practice made so little money that she went to work for the City of New York as a medical inspector. Working with the poorest immigrants in the Hell’s Kitchen area, Baker became dedicated to preventative care. She knew that educating people on basic infant care, nutrition, and sanitation could save many lives and health care resources in the long run.
Baker was appointed the assistant commissioner of health for the city in 1907. She began programs that provided New York residents with prenatal care, childcare classes, infant formula, baby clothes, vaccines, and milk. She took babies out of orphanages and put them into foster care, where they would receive individual attention, leading to a lower death rate. She was also instrumental in catching Mary Mallon (patient zero), known a Typhoid Mary, twice.
Meet Louise Pearce
Born: March 5, 1885
Died: August 10, 1959
“Pathologist at the Rockefeller Institute who helped develop a treatment for African sleeping sickness. She, along with fellow pathologist Wade Hampton Brown, and two chemists, developed tryparsamide. The Rockefeller Institute sent Pearce to the Belgium Congo in 1920 ‘trusting her vigorous personality to carry out an assignment none too easy for a woman physician and not without its dangers’. For her service, Pearce received the order of the Crown of Belgium, and in 1953, the Royal Order of the Lion. Pearce also studied syphilis, for which tryparsamide was standard treatment until penicillin replaced it. With Brown, she discovered and developed the Brown-Pearce tumor, systematically studied syphilis in rabbits, explored how a virus might spread cancer, and more.”