Charles Drew, Blood Bank Pioneer

Charles Drew, blood bank pioneer

Charles R. Drew, MD, MSD, received a doctor of medical science degree in 1940 from Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (then known as the College of Physicians and Surgeons). He was the first Black researcher to earn this degree in the United States. His dissertation was based on research on the properties and preservation of blood plasma in a blood bank that he and John Scudder, MD, established at Presbyterian Hospital.

Drew was regarded as an authority on the preservation of human blood for transfusion. His research at Columbia enabled him to develop efficient ways to process and store large quantities of blood plasma. As the leading authority in the field, he organized and directed the blood-plasma programs of the United States and Great Britain in the early years of World War II. The Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Sciences in Los Angeles is named for him.

National Library of Medicine Launches Charles Drew Online Exhibit

The National Library of Medicine has added Charles Drew, MD, MSD (1904–1950), to its online exhibit series, Profiles in Science. In addition to biographical information, the exhibit includes digitized versions of select documents and photos from the Charles Drew Papers at Howard University.


The Charles Drew video was produced in 2017 in celebration of the 250th anniversary of Columbia University's Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.