Award-winning Doctors and Their Contributions to Society

Award-winning Doctors and Their Contributions to Society

Serving as a doctor is already an important role wherein doctors contribute immensely to society by treating and healing people. However, there are some exceptional doctors who stand out for their extraordinary contributions to the medical field and to society in general. Here, you will read about doctors who embody the highest values in medical research, leadership, volunteering and in engagement with people who belong to the most disadvantaged classes.

Extraordinary doctors who benefited society

Doctors may face a number of challenges in their goal to help people. These challenges can be posed by society or due to environmental factors such as poverty, lack of infrastructure, lack of technology, research, and other supporting functions. This article celebrates those doctors who pushed boundaries, created new paths in medicine and went out of their way to aid people in difficult circumstances.

  1. Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi
    One of the most inspirational figures in Indian medicine, Anadibai Gopalrao Joshi was the first female Indian doctor in history. She was born in 1856 and began to train as a doctor at the age of 19. She faced considerable criticism as it was considered wrong for a woman to assume the role of a doctor. She had a difficult domestic life but nevertheless completed her medical training at a very young age.She paved the way for female doctors in India and contributed to improving the lives of women and their status in society. The Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences in Lucknow has created the Anandibai Joshi Award in her name, and she is recognized for advancing medicine in India.

2) Dr. Alla Gopale Krishna Gokhale
Dr. A. G. K Gokhale is a prominent cardiac surgeon who is famous for being the first to perform a heart transplant from human-to-human successfully in Andhra Pradesh. He is also known for doing the first successful lung transplant in Andhra Pradesh.

The Government of Indian awarded him with the Padma Shri in 2016, and his work has advanced the medical practice of organ transplants in India, saving many lives. He holds numerous records for his outstanding contributions to surgeries.   He has established a non-profit organization for health and education, and has set up an open-heart surgery program with the Andhra Pradesh government benefiting hundreds of people.

3) Dr. Virginia Apgar
Virginia Apgar was an obstetrical anesthesiologist in the US. Her most profound contribution was the creation of the Apgar Score, which is used even today to assess the health of a baby immediately at the time of birth. She graduated as one of the top students in her class and did her residency in surgery. She was discouraged from pursuing surgery as previously many women had failed to work as surgeons. She then did anesthesiology as there was great potential in this developing field which is critical to surgery.

She contributed extensively towards identifying problems in newborns, ensuring that distressed newborns are given immediate medical attention, and brought attention to the problems in prematurely born children. Apgar has received numerous posthumous awards such as the ‘Woman of the Year in Science’ in 1973 and ‘Distinguished Service Award’ from the American Society of Anesthesiologists (1966).

4) Dr. James McCune Smith
Dr. James McCune Smith was the first African-American to hold a medical degree and to become a doctor of color. He earned his medical degree at the University of Glasgow, graduating at the top of his class. On returning to the United States, he was the first African-American to open and run a pharmacy.
Dr. Smith’s role was pivotal in African-American history as he broke racial and social barriers by earning his medical degree, proving that people of color were not inherently incapable of advanced work and knowledge. He worked towards the common good of his people and his country and was the first person of color to publish his articles in American medical journals. Despite his qualifications and accomplishments, neither the American Medical Association nor any other professional body admitted him as a member.

5) Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong
Dr. Pun-Chong is an Asian Peruvian doctor who did his medical training in the capital of Peru, Lima. Dr. Pun-Chong is distinguished for his efforts in providing free meals, housing and support for sick children and people who came to him for treatment. These children and their parents frequently came from rural areas and had to travel through dangerous places across mountains, rivers, and bad roads just to access medical treatment.
Pun-Chong received the accolade of CNN Hero of the Year in 2018 for his work with people in disadvantaged circumstances. He has also founded a nonprofit organization called Inspira that has so far helped 800 families and counting.

6) Dr. Nasrin Oryakhel
Dr. Nasrin Oryakhe, an Afghan doctor, received the International Women of Courage Award in 2014 from the U.S Department of State. She is an obstetrician and gynecologist and the Director of the Malalai Maternity Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is celebrated for her substantial contribution to the healthcare ecosystem in Afghanistan. She is responsible for creating the first obstetric fistula repair clinic in Afghanistan and has been involved in building and managing medical resources and networks for Afghan women. She also served as the Minister of Labor.. Dr. Oryakhel has contributed immensely to improving healthcare for Afghan women.

There are many extraordinary doctors in history and in the present day, who go above and beyond their expected duties to aid humanity, especially those who are unable to access medical care or cannot afford it. These doctors truly fulfill their calling as healers and change the lives of those who are impoverished, deprived of modern living facilities and otherwise lack the knowledge and opportunity to access medical care.

It is important to remember and recognize the services and accomplishments of such doctors and their contributions to science and society. Doctors and other medical professions provide valuable services that are meant for all of humanity. Providing basic health care and treatment means a happier and prosperous society for all.

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