Patricia Era Bath


Patricia Era Bath
Harlem, New York
Death date
Associated organizations
Co-Founder of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Fields of study
Chemistry, Medicine, Ophthalmology, Surgery, Humanitarian.
Patricia Era Bath, MD was awarded five United States Patents for her inventions, She was one of Mademoiselle magazine’s Ten Young Women of the Year for 1960, recognized in the January 1961 issue for cancer research she conducted at Harlem Hospital, While attending Howard University College of Medicine, Bath was awarded the Edwin J. Watson Prize for Outstanding Student in Ophthalmology and mentored by Dr. Lois Jones. She was awarded a Children's Bureau National Government Fellowship Award. Also at Howard, she was an activist and student organizer, co-founded the Student National Medical Association and worked on the Poor People’s Campaign, 1995: NAACP Legal Defense Fund Black Woman Achievement Award, 2000: Smithsonian Museum's Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation included her in the Innovative Lives program, 2001: American Medical Women's Association induction into Hall of Fame, 2006: Tubman's Sheila Award, 2011: Dr. Bath was interviewed for the American Academy of Ophthalmology's Museum of Vision oral history collection that "preserves the memories and experiences of people whose lives are an inspiration.", 2012: Tribeca Film Festival Disruptive Innovation Award, 2013: Association of Black Women Physicians Lifetime Achievement Award for Ophthalmology Contributions, 2014: Alpha Kappa Alpha Presidential Award for Health and medical Sciences, 2014: Howard University Charter Day Award for Distinguished Achievement in Ophthalmology and Medicine, 2017: Medscape one of 12 "Women Physicians who Changed the Course of American Medicine", 2017: Time Magazine "Firsts: Women Who Are Changing the World” for being the first to invent and demonstrate laserphaco cataract surgery, 2017: Hunter College Hall of Fame induction, 2018: New York Academy of Medicine John Stearns Medal for Distinguished Contributions in Clinical Practice, for invention of laserphaco cataract surgery, 2018: Alliance for Aging research: Silver Innovator Award for contributions and research towards blindness prevention, 2021, it was announced that she would be one of the first two black women (along with Marian Croak) to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.


Patricia Era Bath, MD, was an American ophthalmologist and humanitarian. She became the first female member of the Jules Stein Eye Institute, the first woman to lead a post-graduate training program in ophthalmology, and the first woman elected to the honorary staff of the UCLA Medical Center. Bath was the first African-American to serve as a resident in ophthalmology at New York University. She was also the first African-American woman to serve on staff as a surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center. Bath was the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose. A holder of five patents, she founded the non-profit American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness in Washington, D.C.