Ophthalmologist Patricia Bath's induction set for inventors hall of fame

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Patricia Bath, MD, will be one of the first black women to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in May, the organization said Sept. 21.

Dr. Bath, who died in 2019, was the first African American female clinician to receive a medical patent. She is being honored May 5, 2022, for inventing the laserphaco probe, a device and surgical technique to remove cataracts.

Dr. Bath received her medical degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1968. She completed her residency at New York University and her fellowship at Columbia University in New York City. During her fellowship, she co-founded a residency program at Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in Willowbrook, Calif. She then joined UCLA Medical Center as the first female ophthalmologist on the hospital's faculty staff at its Jules Stein Eye Institute.

While studying ophthalmology, Dr. Bath discovered that Black people had double the rate of glaucoma because of a lack of access to ophthalmic care. In 1976, she co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, dedicated to sight protection and restoration.

She was honored with numerous awards during her career, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Black Women Physicians and the Silver Innovator Award from the Alliance for Aging Research.

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