He was a medical pioneer!
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has renamed a section in honor of the first Black research physician to work there, Black Enterprise reports.
Dr. Rudolph Jackson was a blood disease research specialist and the first Black research physician to work at St. Jude. He uncovered groundbreaking treatments for various illnesses, like sickle cell disease, anemia, parasitic infections, and growth impairments, prioritizing developing treatments and programs that helped those most in need, especially those from low-income households. Jackson was also responsible for a program at St. Jude that saw thousands of mothers and infants enrolled in nutritional assistance, medicine, and diapers. The initiative would eventually serve as the model “for what would become the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).”
Dr. Jackson passed away in August 2021 at the age of 86 but his work and legacy continue. Recently, St. Jude raised $2 million to rename a section of the institution in his honor. They held a ceremony on June 23rd to unveil two plaques in homage to Jackson. The plaque naming rights were earned by Maryland marketing agency ABCD & Company and Speer Charitable Trust, who each donated $500,000 as a part of a larger five-year commitment to the hospital.
“It is a beautiful tribute to the lifesaving work of Dr. Jackson,” said Reginald Porter. Chief DEI officer and senior VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at ALSAC, St. Jude’s fundraising arm.
The ceremony was attended by Dr. Jackson’s daughters, Kimberley Marter and Kelley Alexander. They both spoke of the importance of their father’s work for the African American community as a whole and how much it meant to him to give back.
“It was important for my dad to understand what it was like for all African-Americans,” said Marter.
“He wanted to make sure that other physicians came up with the same type of education and opportunities in other hospitals so that we would have representation all across the world. Even after retirement, he was still a mentor to many younger physicians. He was doing community service and had this compassion for letting African Americans know they had someone as an advocate for their health. We’re very proud of him,” Alexander added.
The plaques in honor of Dr. Rudolph Jackson will be housed at the entrance of the Weiss Hematology Lab in the Danny Thomas Research Center, where blood disorders are researched.
Photos Courtesy of YouTube/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/Black Enterprise