Excellence and duty: Dr. James F. Densler, the first black pediatric surgeon in the United States


      • What is currently known about this topic? Dr. James Densler was the first practicing black pediatric surgeon in the US.
      • What new information is contained in this article? The motivation and driving factors behind Densler's success and his lasting impact on Morehouse School of Medicine.


      Dr. James F. Densler is a remarkable figure in pediatric surgery for both his pioneering of pediatric operations and, perhaps more importantly, shattering racial barriers. Despite growing up in the segregated South, being barred admission to his initial medical school of choice and experiencing a racially motivated bombing while in medical school, Densler persevered with the desire to fulfill the need he saw in his community, becoming the first practicing Black pediatric surgeon in the United States. His continued devotion to service later led him become a critical figure in the education of students at the newly formed Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Through an extensive literature review and personal interviews with Dr. Densler and his colleagues, this paper outlines Dr. James Densler’s life, surgical career, and the indelible mark he leaves behind.


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