While all of our neighborhood’s Women of Discovery are laudable, during February – which is both Black History Month and Women Inventors Month – we shine the spotlight on Dr. Patricia Bath and Dr. Theresa Singleton.
Dr. Patricia Bath
African American inventor, ophthalmologist, and academic, Dr. Patricia Bath (1942–2019) was a pioneer in laser cataract surgery and a trailblazer for African American women. She was perhaps best known for being the first Black woman in America to receive a patent for medical purposes – and she went on to receive seven more!
Dr. Bath co-founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness to address global eye health issues. She invented the Laserphaco Probe, a medical device that revolutionized cataract surgery and helped save the eyesight of millions of individuals worldwide.
When she noticed the prevalence of blindness in Black communities, Dr. Bath developed the field of “community ophthalmology,” which is based on the premise that eyesight is a basic human right and should be considered part of primary care.
Dr. Theresa Singleton
Dr. Theresa Singleton (b. 1952) became the first African American woman to earn a doctorate in Historical Archaeology and African American history from the University of Florida. In 2014, she was awarded the Society of Historical Archaeology J.C. Harrington Award for her lifetime contributions to the field of archaeology, making her the only African American person to have received the honor.
Dr. Singleton’s work has contributed to understanding the lives of African-descendant communities, particularly during the period of slavery and its aftermath. Her findings have shed light on the material culture, daily practices, and social structures of these communities and have helped highlight the resilience, agency, and cultural contributions of African-descendant populations. She is currently a professor of anthropology at Syracuse University and has edited and authored a number of books in her field.
Both Dr. Bath and Dr. Singleton have been trailblazers, leaving lasting legacies in their respective fields, contributing to advancements in medicine, science, and historical understanding. We honor them for the way they’ve inspired future generations, particularly women and individuals from underrepresented groups.
About Women of Discovery
Discovery West was founded as a beautiful neighborhood that offers countless opportunities for delight, exploration, and discovery. In that spirit, we named our streets after 19 intelligent and courageous women whose groundbreaking discoveries have significantly advanced our world.