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West Virginia People of Color in Healthcare

Health Sciences Center Pylons: November 2021-May 2022
Check out the online exhibit here!

Healthcare in the Mountain State, like many areas in rural Appalachia has obstacles to overcome such as employing a diverse population of providers and equitable access to quality healthcare. Historically, People of Color in health care navigated their own path through discrimination, segregation, and systemic racism to become practitioners. Today’s practitioners continue the legacy of providing communities quality care and generating People of Color’s increased trust in medical institutions thus increasing the quality of public health and well-being. This exhibit looks at the past, present and future of West Virginia People of Color in Healthcare with historical imagery and text, current perspectives and WVU initiatives and more.

Photo: Dr. Mildred Mitchell-Bateman, Courtesy West Virginia & Regional History Center (

Dr. Mitchell-Bateman is one of the several healthcare workers featured in the exhibit. Dr. Mildred Mitchell-Bateman, M.D.(1922- 2012) was an American physician and medical administrator. She was West Virginia's mental health commissioner in 1962, the first woman and African-American to hold the position. In 1973, she became the vice president of the American Psychiatric Association, the first African-American to do so. In 1977, then-President Jimmy Carter chose her to serve on his Commission on Mental Health, which led to the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980.