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National Library of Medicine Launches Charles Drew Online Exhibit

The National Library of Medicine has added Charles Drew, M.D., MSD (1904-1950), to its online exhibit series, Profiles in Science. In addition to biographical information, the exhibit includes digitized versions of selected documents and photos from the Charles Drew Papers at Howard University. Charles Drew

Dr. Drew received his Doctor of Medical Science degree from Columbia in 1940 and was the first African-American in the United States to earn the degree. Often referred to as the “father of the blood bank,” his MSD dissertation was based on research on the properties and preservation of blood plasma in a blood bank he and Dr. John Scudder established at Presbyterian Hospital.

Dr. Drew was regarded as an authority on the preservation of human blood for transfusion. His research at Columbia enabled him to develop efficient ways to process and store large quantities of blood plasma. As the leading authority in the field, he organized and directed the blood-plasma programs of the United States and Great Britain in the early years of World War II.

The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences in Los Angeles is named for him.