Five Black Scholars2

(L to R) Evan Dale Abel, Linda Burnes Bolton, Otis Webb Brawley, Melissa Lynn Gilliam, and Elizabeth Odilile Ofili. (Photos Courtesy of

Five Black scholars were among 70 health professionals recently appointed to the National Academy of Medicine, an independent organization founded in 1970, whose membership consists of leaders in a wide range of fields across the health profession.

One of the group’s primary focuses is to address critical issues that take place in health, medicine and policy in hopes of creating a positive attitude, the organization stated on its website.

According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, selection to the National Academy is one of the highest honors in the health profession. Among those newly inducted are:

Evan Dale Abel is a professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine. Currently, he holds the John B Stokes III Chair in Diabetes Research and is the Director of the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa.  Dr. Abel received his medical degree from the University of West Indies with distinction and holds a Ph.D. in psychology from Oxford University in England. Dr. Abel has had success in the endocrine research and performed seminal studies that helped establish a critical link between adipose tissue glucose transporter and whole body insulin resistance. His findings were published in the journal Nature.

Linda Burnes Bolton is the vice president of Nursing, Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Nursing Research at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. Dr. Burnes Bolton is a graduate of Arizona State University and holds two Master’s degrees and a doctorate in Public Health from UCLA.  She is experienced in many areas of research and teaching, including nursing and patient outcomes, quality care improving organizational performance and cultural diversity within the health professions. Dr. Burnes Bolton once served as president of the American Academy of Nursing and the National Black Nurses Association. Modern Healthcare magazine named her one of the top 25 women in healthcare in 2011.

Otis Webb Brawley is the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society. According to The New York Times, he authored a 2012 book entitled “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks about Being Sick in America,” highlighting the flaws with American medical care. Dr. Brawley received his medical degree from the University of Chicago. He also serves as a professor of medical oncology, hematology, medicine and epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta.

Melissa Lynn Gilliam is an expert in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. Dr. Gilliam specializes in helping women 25 years and younger who have complex gynecologic problems or need routine care. Dr, Gilliam also helps women manage everyday issues, such as bleeding, painful periods, breast cysts and abnormal pap smears. She is a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics at the University of Chicago and holds a medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

Elizabeth Odilile Ofili is nationally recognized for her work in the field of echocardiography, the use of sound waves when studying the heart and it functionality. Dr. Ofili attended medical school at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria; as a result of her international background, it took her some time to earn wider recognition. She moved to the U.S in 1982, and pursued a Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. She currently serves as a professor of medicine and the director of Clinical Research Center at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.