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Picture of William Warrick Cardozo
William Warrick Cardozo

William Cardozo, born into a Washington, D.C. family of educators and politicians, led medical research into problems afflicting blacks.

Educated in D.C. public schools and at Hampton Institute in Virginia, he earned his M.D. at Ohio State University. In 1935 Cardozo was awarded a two-year fellowship in pediatrics at Children's Memorial Hospital and Provident Hospital in Chicago. With the aid of a grant from Alpha Phi Alpha (the nation's first black fraternity), he pioneered research on sickle cell anemia. In October 1937 he published "Immunologic Studies in Sickle Cell Anemia" in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Cardozo concluded that sickle cell anemia was found almost exclusively among people of African descent; that it was inherited following Mendel's laws; that not all people having sickle cells were anemic; that not all patients died of sickle cell disease per se; and that no successful treatment had been found. Today his findings are still valid.

Cardozo practiced medicine in Washington, D.C. and joined the staff of Howard University College of Medicine and Freedmen's Hospital, where he became clinical associate professor of pediatrics. He also served for 24 years as school medical inspector for the D.C. Board of Health.

In addition to his work on sickle cell anemia, Cardozo studied gastrointestinal disorders in children and published works on Hodgkin's disease, and on early growth and development of black children.

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