For Women’s History Month, Holman Biotech Commons will highlight Perelman School of Medicine’s first African American woman graduate, Dr. Arlene Bennett.
Born in West Philadelphia Hospital of Women, Arlene Bennett assumed that the majority of doctors were women and at the age of nine, she decided that she wants to be a doctor. After graduating from Philadelphia High School for Girls, she enrolled in the U.S. Air Force as a radio mechanic for three years to benefit from the G.I. bill to afford medical school. In 1964, Dr. Bennett became the first African American woman to graduate from the Perelman School of Medicine. She was one of six women in her class and the only woman of color. After graduating, Dr. Bennett started her medical career as a physician in general pediatrics and switched to psychiatry. Dr. Bennett changed to psychiatry because she was intrigued by helping underserved populations of color in psychiatry. Dr. Bennett has been active in the Penn community as the Clinical Associate for the Department of Psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital. She is also active in the Philadelphia community as an advocate for preserving the parkland from development and bears the name of a beautiful park in East Wissahickon Park.
Further Readings and Podcasts:
Healing Hands: The History, and Future, of Black Doctors at Penn. (2022, March 1). The University of Pennsylvania Almanac. https://almanac.upenn.edu/articles/healing-hands-the-history-and-future-of-black-doctors-at-penn
Mann, M. (2022, February 18). Healing Hands — the History, and Future, of Black Doctors at Penn. Penn Medicine News. https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-blog/2022/february/healing-hands-the-history-and-future-of-black-doctors-at-penn
Perloff, C. B. (2020). 1920-2020: Profiles of Women in Medicine. Penn Medicine News. https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/publications-and-special-projects/penn-medicine-magazine/fall-2020/profiles-of-women-in-medicine
Interview with Renowned Psychiatrist Dr. Arlene Bennett. (2021, March 2). WWDB-AM Talk 860. https://wwdbam.com/episodes/interview-with-renowned-psychiatrist-dr-arlene-bennett-03-02-21
Inaugural Event: Conversation with Dr. Arlene Bennett ED’60 M’64. (2021, April 18). Penn Med Black Alumni Society. https://pmbas.org/events/drarlenebennett
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