PC:  Public Domain

PC: Public Domain

Ruth J. Temple

An innovator in providing health care to the least advantaged and a tireless advocate for public health, Ruth J. Temple (1892-1984) was the first black female to earn a medical degree at Loma Linda University (then the College of Medical Evangelists). In 1918, Dr. Temple and her husband, Otis Banks, established the first health clinic in the medically underserved community of southeast Los Angeles. Later called the Temple Health Institute, it provided free medical services and health education and became a model duplicated in communities throughout the nation. With her sister, she initiated the concept of an annual community Health Week adopted by the Los Angeles County Health Department in 1945 and implemented with widely-noted success.

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