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UCI School of Medicine Recognizes Black History Month 2024

Posted: 2024-02-16

Source: UCI School of Medicine
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The first observance of Black History Month took place at Kent State University in 1970, six years before it became a nationally recognized celebration. It is very fitting that such a significant aspect of modern American culture was conceived at a public research university, undoubtedly cultivated by the institution’s unique synergy of intellectual thought, community outreach and diverse life experiences.

As the only public medical school in Orange County, the UCI School of Medicine aims to promote academic excellence and health equity for the betterment of African, Black and Caribbean communities.

We invite you to read more about important people in history and at UCI who embody the spirit of Black History Month. 

James McCune Smith, MD

James McCune Smith, MD

The lineage of Blacks and African Americans in academic medicine begins with James McCune Smith, MD, who was the first African American to earn a medical degree. Unable to pursue higher education in the U.S. because of his race, Smith attended the University of Glasgow from 1832-37, obtaining his bachelor’s, master’s and medical degrees.



Nellie Smith

Nellie Valentine

Nellie Valentine, parent advocate for the Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, is a leader, community mentor, and outstanding advocate for children with developmental disabilities and their families. As a mother of four neurodiverse children, Valentine initially came to CAND as a volunteer for the Family Advisory Committee and later transitioned to a staff role with an emphasis on conducting outreach to the African, Black and Caribbean (ABC) community in Orange County.



Sophia Ederaine, MD

Sophia Ederaine, MD

Sophia Ederaine, MD, PGY-2 in the Department of Dermatology, also looks heavily to her personal experiences in the Southern California community as a primary motivator in her professional career. Ederaine has been praised by her peers as an example of professionalism, altruism and dedication; a doctor who always seeks to establish personal connections with patients at the continuity clinic at the Tibor Rubin VA Medical Center.

DR. sophia ederaine's Profile 


C. Eric McCoy, MD

C. Eric McCoy, MD, MPH

C. Eric McCoy, MD, MPH, clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine, has made multiple trailblazing contributions to the field of academic medicine. After completing his residency and an Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Medical Sciences Fellowship at UCI, McCoy became the founding director of the Medical Simulation Fellowship, mentoring countless medical students, residents and faculty physicians in some of the most innovative and novel medical technology of the 21st century.

dr. eric mccoy's profile

Nii-Kabu Kabutey, MD

Nii-Kabu Kabutey, MD

Nii-Kabu Kabutey, MD, associate clinical professor and chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, has been lauded by his community as both a clinician and an educator. His professional expertise includes treatment of complex thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms and dissections, advanced peripheral arterial disease, esoteric venous pathologies, cerebrovascular disease, and challenging vascular access for hemodialysis.

Dr. nii-kabu kabutey's profile

The work of these and many other colleagues in the UCI School of Medicine demonstrates that health equity can act as a catalyst toward unlocking new histories and new chapters in Black history, from our living rooms to our classrooms to our exam rooms throughout the world. For those interested in learning more about the scope of Black history in the medical field, we invite you to join the UCI community on Monday, Feb. 26 at noon as Rana A. Hogarth, PhD, delivers the campuswide Black History Month keynote titled, “Medical and Scientific Constructions of Race: A Historical Perspective.”

Hogarth is a faculty member at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the author of Medicalizing Blackness: Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840 (2017). This is a virtual event hosted by the UCI Office of Inclusive Excellence and is free to attend.

Register here.

Additionally, below is a short list of events and resources that you may utilize to engage with Black history and the various intersections of all communities: