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History of Diversity and Inclusion at Duke Surgery


Dorothy Beard, a research associate in the Department of Surgery, works alongside her husband, Joseph Beard, as part of the internationally prominent Beard cancer research team to help develop the first usable vaccine for equine encephalomyelitis.

Dorothy and Joseph Beard in the lab
Dorothy Beard in the laboratory (Credit: DUMC Archives)


J. Deryl Hart, MD, former Duke Surgery chairman, is named president of Duke University and works with the Board of Trustees to desegregate both the undergraduate school and the medical school. Under his leadership, the admissions policies are amended to no longer consider race, creed, or national origin when evaluating potential students.


Supported by President Hart, Duke Surgery Chairman David C. Sabiston Jr., MD, decrees that all clinical wards of Duke Hospital should be fully integrated.

Dr. David Sabiston on teaching rounds with residents
Chair of Surgery Dr. David Sabiston Jr. on teaching rounds with residents (Credit: DUMC Archives)


Eddie L. Hoover, MD, becomes the second African-American student in Duke medical school, and goes on to become the first African-American resident at Duke, within the Department of Surgery. In 2013, Dr. Hoover received a Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Duke Medical Alumni Association. Learn more about Dr. Hoover in the video below.

2013 DukeMed Distinguished Awards: Eddie L. Hoover, MD


Susan Chace Lottich, MD, becomes the first woman surgeon to graduate from Duke University.


Along with Onye Akwari, MD, who sought to diversify the Duke Surgery medical student population, David Sabiston Jr., MD, obtains an NIH grant to host the first meeting of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons. The meeting successfully forms a network of African-American surgeons, a valuable resource even today.

Society of Black Surgeons First Annual Meeting 1989
Society of Black Academic Surgeons First Annual Meeting in 1989 with Duke Chair of Surgery Dr. David Sabiston Jr. (Credit: Society of Black Academic Surgeons)


Danny O. Jacobs, MD, MPH, FACS, becomes the first African-American Chair of the Department of Surgery. During his 10 years at Duke, Dr. Jacobs proves himself to be a highly effective leader, committed to the success of all three missions within the Department of Surgery. Dr. Jacobs currently serves as Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Danny O. Jacobs, MD, Chair of Duke Surgery
Dr. Danny Jacobs was the first African-American Chair of the Department of Surgery


For the first time in department history, all 6 chief residents in general and thoracic surgery are women.

2013 General Surgery Chief Residents - all women
Duke General Surgery Chief Residents: Back Row (Left to Right) Drs. Dawn Elfenbein, Kyla Bennett, and Keri Lunsford; Front Row (Left to Right) Drs. Nicole de Rosa, Vanessa Schroder, and Sarah Evans


Duke women surgeons accept the #NYerORCoverChallenge!

Duke women surgeons participate in the New Yorker Cover Challenge to bring visibility to women in medicine


Duke Surgery forms the Diversity & Inclusion Committee to ensure equity for all faculty, staff, and patients.