publication date: Feb. 19, 2021

Guest Editorial

Remembering Jane Cooke Wright, a Black woman physician, who was among seven founders of ASCO

Sometime in 1995, Edith Mitchell, a U.S. Air Force oncologist who at the time served as commander of the 131st Medical Squadron at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, first heard the name Jane Cooke Wright.

Karen Antman, then president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, wanted to know whether Mitchell, who is Black, has heard that a Black woman oncologist was among ASCO’s seven founding members. 

Mitchell had no idea.

Antman reached out to Wright, inviting her to the 1995 ASCO annual meeting. Mitchell, too, reached out to Wright. This started a friendship with Wright and her family members. 

Wright died on Feb. 19, 2013, at age 93.

A photo archive chronicling Wright’s life is posted here.

The text of a eulogy by Mitchell, now a professor and associate director for diversity services at Thomas Jefferson University Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, delivered on behalf of the National Medical Association at a memorial service for Wright is published on the Cancer History Project. 

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