Happy Birthday to the father of blood banks, Dr. Charles Drew! Drew was born on June 3, 1904, in Washington, D.C. He was the son of a carpet layer. During his youth, he enjoyed playing sports and showed great talent. After graduating high school, he attended Amherst College on a sports scholarship.
He is known for his development of ways to process and store blood plasma in “blood banks.” He served as director of the blood plasma programs in the United States and Great Britain. He later resigned the position after the ruling that blood from African Americans would be segregated. Dr. Charles Drew died on April 1, 1950.
Drew completed his bachelor’s degree at Amherst in 1926. He worked as a biology instructor and a coach for Morgan College, now Morgan State University, in Baltimore for two years. In 1928, he applied to medical schools and enrolled at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
While at McGill University, he excelled at his studies and was one of the students in his class. He won a prize in neuroanatomy. Graduating in 1933, Drew was second in his class and earned both Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery degrees. He went on to do his internship and residency at the Royal Victoria Hospital and the Montreal General Hospital. Drew studied along with Dr. John Beattie, the two examined problems and issues regarding blood transfusions. Drew developed a method for processing and preserving blood plasma, or blood without cells. He became known as the “Father of Blood Banks.”