Patricia Bath

Changing the face of medicine, 2024 Inductee Dr. Patricia Bath was the first person to develop laser cataract surgery. Bath was a lifelong advocate for health equity and blindness prevention. She coined the term “Community Ophthalmology” to underscore her belief that “eyesight is a basic human right.” In 1976, she co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness with the goal of eradicating preventable blindness and addressing disproportionately high rates of blindness among ethnoracially minoritized populations.

Bath blazed trails in the field of ophthalmology and laser science. Among many notable firsts, she was the first woman member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute and the first Black woman faculty surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center.

Bath later became the first Black woman doctor to receive a medical patent for her invention known as the Laserphaco Probe. This groundbreaking device revolutionized cataract surgery by using lasers to remove cataracts with unprecedented precision.

A mentor, educator, humanitarian, civil rights advocate, inventor, and scientist, Bath inspires individuals to pursue medical education and breakthroughs that can make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Year Honored: 2024
Birth: 1942 - 2019
Born In: New York
Achievements: Science
Worked In: New York, California
Educated In: New York, Washington D.C.
Schools Attended: Hunter College, Howard University