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The Sound of Science - 'African American Cardiovascular Pioneers'

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NIU STEAM answers a listener's question: "Who are considered to be African American Pioneers in the area of Cardiovascular Medicine?"

Jasmine: Hi, I'm Jasmine.

Chrissy: And I'm Chrissy.

Jasmine: We're from NIU STEAM and...

Chrissy: This is the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

Jasmine: With February being Black History Month as well as National Heart Month, Ross from St. Charles would like to know how Black cardiologists have shaped the medicine we practice today.

Chrissy: It is estimated that over 800,000 coronary bypass grafts occur in the world each year. In the late 1800's leaders in medicine believed, "No surgeon who wished to preserve the respect of his colleagues would ever attempt to suture a wound of the heart." A black Chicago physician by the name of Daniel Hale Williams believed otherwise and performed the first bypass graft to treat a 24-year-old stabbing victim, who most likely would have died without the procedure. Williams also founded the first teaching hospital in the US.

Jasmine: In the US, nearly 16 million blood components are transfused each year. Whether during a routine surgery or catastrophic emergency, being able to have an ample supply of blood is essential to keeping a patient alive. Dr. Charles Richard Drew is known as the "Father of the Blood Bank.' Drew found that plasma had a longer shelf life than blood and could be seperated to be used for transfusions. He also organized the first American large-scale blood bank, that allowed for an on-demand supply of blood and formed the foundation of the blood donation programs we know today.

Chrissy: Dr. Elizabeth Ofili first immigrated from Nigeria in 1982 and since has established a career as a renowned cardiovascular researcher and medical school professor. She has made major impacts on the field of cardiology through the African American Heart Failure Trial. This was the first study involving cardiovascular patient care in a specific racial group and points the way to a more individualized approach to heart failure therapy. She is internationally known for her continued advocacy and research in women's cardiovascular health.

Jasmine: You have been listening to the Sound of Science on WNIJ, where you learn something new everyday.

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