Dr. James F. Densler, the first Black pediatric surgeon in the U.S., was honored by the Atlanta City Council on Monday. (Courtesy Atlanta City Council Office of Communications)

Atlanta City Councilmember Andrea L. Boone honored Dr. James F. Densler, the first African American pediatric surgeon to practice in the U.S., with a proclamation and ceremony at Atlanta City Hall on Monday.

“This is a remarkable man,” Boone said. “He had a pioneering career in medicine and did so while breaking down racial barriers. He is a shining example of perseverance and throughout his life, he has shown a commitment to service, including as a teacher and mentor to so many.”

A former professor at Morehouse School of Medicine, Dr. Densler, 90, earned his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville and completed his residency and internship at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Staten Island, New York. He completed his fellowship in pediatric surgery at the United Hospitals of Newark, New Jersey. He also served in the U.S. Army.

In 1969, he started his practice with the Atlanta Surgical Professional Association, the first African American incorporated group practice in Georgia. When he was chief of staff at Southwest Community Hospital in Atlanta, he invited Morehouse School of Medicine to use the hospital to train students and residents.

He also trained many students and residents in his practice. In 1999, he retired from practice and started to work for Morehouse School of Medicine in the Department of Medical Education. In 2016, he retired as a professor of surgery and pediatrics with a legacy as a pioneer in the medical field.

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Collin KelleyEditor

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.