Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston is an American pediatrician and public health administrator known for her pioneering work in addressing health disparities, particularly in the field of sickle cell disease. particularly for underserved communities.

Gaston earned her medical degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1964, becoming one of the few African American women physicians at the time. In the 1970s, she played a crucial role in the development and implementation of newborn screening programs for sickle cell disease, advocating for early detection and intervention to improve outcomes for affected infants.

In 1990, Gaston became the first African American woman to direct the Bureau of Primary Health Care at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), overseeing the federal government’s community health center programs.

As an advocate for health equity, Gaston co-founded the Gaston and Porter Health Improvement Center, aiming to address health disparities and promote healthy living in African American communities. Marilyn Hughes Gaston’s legacy lies in her tireless efforts to advance healthcare equity and her groundbreaking contributions to the understanding and management of sickle cell disease.

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