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Cates Society

Cates Society

Director: Isaac Opole, M.D.

Assistant Directors: 
Hannah Maxfield, M.D.
Grace Brouillette, M.D.
Laurel Witt, M.D.
Ken Marshall, M.D. 

Student Leaders: Bahar  Barani-Najafabadi, M2, Deena Shaath, M2 and Audrey Wadood, M2 


Marjorie Cates, MD

Marjorie Cates, MD, was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on June 30, 1930, to Clarence and Anna Cates.  The youngest of ten children, Marjorie attended Sumner High School before entering Kansas State College (now Kansas State University) in Manhattan, Kansas, in 1948.  She attended Kansas State College until 1952, when she graduated with her bachelor's degree in home economics and medical technology.  Following graduation, Marjorie completed additional pre-medical coursework at the Minnesota General Hospital and the University of Minnesota.

Following graduation, Marjorie applied to the School of Medicine at the University of Kansas, expressing her "sincere desire to make a worthwhile contribution to humanity."  She was accepted for the 1954 academic year, and upon entering the School of Medicine, became the second African American woman to enter the program.  Geraldine Mowbray, MD entered the School of Medicine in 1937, but, as a black medical student, she was only permitted to complete the first two years of her degree. She was later accepted to, and graduated from at the Howard University College of Medicine in 1941.

In 1958, Marjorie completed her medical degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.  In doing so, she became the school's first African American female graduate, helping to forge the path that many subsequent generations would follow. 

Upon graduation, Dr. Cates entered an internship in Washington, D.C. at the Freedmen's Hospital (now Howard University Hospital) and went on to complete her residency training at D.C. General Hospital.  Marjorie continued her post-doctoral education at some of the nation's most prestigious institutions of higher learning.  She completed three years of additional study in hematology at the New England Medical Center, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University. At NEMC, she collaborated in a publication in the journal Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology, on inheritance of Hemoglobin H Disease.

Dr. Cates then returned to Washington, D.C. and set out on a notable career in both the private and public sectors.  At Howard University, she taught hematology and joined the university's Sickle Cell Center, where she served as the associate director.  She moved on to become the director of health services for the federal Department of the Interior.  In 1974, Dr. Cates became the chief medical officer at the D.C. Health Department North Area Health Center.  As part of her work, she published Sickle Cell Disease, a Bibliography, in 1975, and promoted the cause of sickle cell awareness nationally in interviews. 

Dr. Cates was a member of the Women's Medical Association, the National Medical Association, and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Marjorie Cates died on July 1, 1991, at age 61 in Silver Spring, Maryland. She is survived by her daughter, Lauren Ransome.

Last modified: Jun 22, 2018