Dr. Regina Benjamin was the first Black woman to be elected to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.
After Dr. Benjamin received her medical degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she returned to her Gulf Coast hometown, Bayou la Batre, and opened a small rural health clinic; for 13 years, she was the town’s only doctor.
In 1995, at the age of 39, Benjamin became the first Black woman, and the first person under the age of 40, to be elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, and in 2002, she became the first Black female president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. She was chosen “Person of the Week” by ABC World News Tonight, and “Woman of the Year” by both CBS This Morning and People magazine.
Benjamin won a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” award in 2008, and was appointed the 18th surgeon general by President Barack Obama in 2009.