Famous American Physicians

Did you know that Hippocrates was the first ever man to diss the idea that diseases were caused by evil spirits or displeasure of gods and provided a more physical and rational explanation for it, thereby laying the cornerstone for modern day medicine? (That is how we have the famous Hippocratic Oath!) While Hippocrates is revered as the "Father of Western Medicine," the modern day world owes much of its medical feats to the American physicians. Had it not been for their groundbreaking, avant-garde medical breakthroughs, the world would have never known artificial kidney or artificial blood. American physicians like Charles Horace Mayo, William Osler Abbott, Virginia Apgar, Benjamin Spock and Ben Carson have played crucial roles in making medicine what it is today. From medical inventions to life saving surgeries, let us explore the biography, timeline, trivia and facts of such famous, exemplary American physicians whose enormous contribution to the world of medicine has been boundless.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Jonas Salk

Jonas Salk.
4
Famous As: Medical researcher
Birthdate: October 28, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: June 23, 1995

If the world is successful in its fight against polio, the credit goes to American virologist Jonas Salk who developed a vaccine for the disease. Described as a “miracle worker”, his concerns for humanity were reflected in the fact that he did not claim a patent for the vaccine. He founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, based in California.

 2 Ben Carson

Ben Carson.
12
Famous As: Politician, Former Neurosurgeon
Birthdate: September 18, 1951
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Neurosurgeon Ben Carson is credited with many pioneering neurosurgical procedures. He became a Library of Congress “Living Legend” and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He later contested in the 2016 presidential primaries, has authored numerous books, was a Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and earned 60 honorary doctorates.

 3 James Watson

James Watson.
4
Famous As: Molecular Biologist
Birthdate: April 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

James Watson is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and zoologist. He is credited with co-authoring the academic paper that propounded the double helix structure of nucleic acids such as DNA for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. In 1977, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

 4 Bennet Omalu

Bennet Omalu.
4
Famous As: Neuropathologist, Forensic Pathologist
Birthdate: August 31, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nnokwa, Idemili South, Nigeria

Nigerian-American physician, forensic-pathologist and neuropathologist Bennet Omalu is most-noted for discovering chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players. He was serving at Allegheny County coroner's office in Pittsburgh at that time. He presently serves as President and Medical Director of Bennet Omalu Pathology, chief medical examiner for San Joaquin County, and as professor at the University of California, Davis.

 5 Ron Paul

Ron Paul.
4
Birthdate: August 20, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.

Ron Paul is a physician, author, and retired politician who has played an important role in promoting libertarian vision by delivering speeches on American college campuses. A doctor by profession, Ron Paul served in the U.S. Air Force as a flight surgeon from 1963 to 1968. His life and career inspired the 2012 film Ron Paul Uprising.

 6 Anthony Fauci

Anthony Fauci
8
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: December 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, U.S.

American physician-scientist and immunologist Anthony Fauci serves as director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and Chief Medical Advisor to President Joe Biden. As research scientist and chief of NIAID, Fauci contributed in the areas of HIV/AIDS research and other immunodeficiency diseases and received Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work on the AIDS relief program PEPFAR.

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 7 Patch Adams

Patch Adams.
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 28, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.

Patch Adams is an American physician, clown, comedian, author, and social activist. Credited with founding the Gesundheit! Institute, Adams advocates an alternative health care model. He also organizes volunteers who travel to various countries every year in order to bring a smile to the faces of patients, orphans, and other people.

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 8 Virginia Apgar

Virginia Apgar.
4
Famous As: Physician and Anesthesiologist
Birthdate: June 7, 1909
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Westfield, New Jersey, United States
Died: August 7, 1974
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 9 Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison.
4
Famous As: First African American Woman To Travel To Space
Birthdate: October 17, 1956
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Decatur, Alabama, United States

Former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison became the first Black woman to fly into space, as a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Endeavour. A qualified physician, she has served as a Peace Corps doctor, too. She has written several books and established a non-profit and a tech research organization.

 10 Sanjay Gupta

Sanjay Gupta
6
Famous As: Surgeon, Neurosurgeon, Journalist, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 23, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Novi

Born to Indian-origin parents in the U.S., Sanjay Gupta is an acclaimed neurosurgeon and medical writer. He has also had a successful stint as a medical reporter for CNN, covering medical issues at wars and disasters. He has played himself in the movie Contagion and is a skilled accordion player.

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 11 Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell.
4
Famous As: First Woman Medical Graduate
Birthdate: February 3, 1821
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bristol
Died: May 31, 1910

 12 Jack Kevorkian

Jack Kevorkian.
4
Famous As: American pathologist
Birthdate: May 26, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pontiac, Michigan, U.S.
Died: June 3, 2011

Jack Kevorkian was a pathologist who believed that euthanasia or mercy killing of terminally ill patients was necessary. He later claimed to have helped 130 patients die and earned the nickname “Dr. Death.” He was later convicted of murder for his role in the voluntary euthanasia of a patient.

 13 Jill Stein

Jill Stein.
6
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: May 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Jill Stein is a physician who later became the presidential nominee for the Green Party in the 2012 and 2016 elections. She has also been the Green-Rainbow Party's candidate for the governorship of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2010. She believed in the Green New Deal, including climate change reforms.

 14 Paul Nassif

Paul Nassif
4
Famous As: Plastic surgeon
Birthdate: June 6, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

American plastic surgeon and television personality Paul Sabin Nassif is best known for specialising in rhinoplasty and for co-hosting the plastic surgery-themed American reality television series Botched and its spin-off series Botched by Nature with another plastic surgeon Terry Dubrow. Nassif owns the skincare line Nassif MD Dermaceuticals and is a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

 15 Charles R. Drew

Charles R. Drew.
4
Famous As: Physician & Surgeon
Birthdate: June 3, 1904
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Died: April 1, 1950

Born into a middle-class African-American family, Charles R. Drew initially excelled in football and track and field, and ended up earning athletic scholarships to fund his studies. He grew up to be a renowned surgeon and revolutionized the storage of blood plasma in blood banks.

 16 Stella Immanuel

Stella Immanuel
4
Famous As: Physician, writer
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Cameroon

 17 John Harvey Kellogg

John Harvey Kellogg.
4
Famous As: Doctor, Inventor
Birthdate: February 26, 1852
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tyrone Township, Livingston County, Michigan
Died: December 14, 1943
Physician, nutritionist, and businessman John Harvey Kellogg served as the director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was a combination of a European spa, a hydrotherapy center, a hospital, and a hotel. He believed in biologic living. However, he is best remembered as the inventor of corn flakes.

 18 Benjamin Spock

Benjamin Spock.
8
Famous As: Pediatrician and Political Activist
Birthdate: May 2, 1903
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
Died: March 15, 1998

American paediatrician Benjamin Spock was the first paediatrician who studied psychoanalysis to comprehend needs of children and family dynamics. He penned Baby and Child Care, a best-seller book of the twentieth-century. His concepts of child-rearing influenced generations of parents. Spock was also an Olympic gold-medallist in rowing and ran during the 1972 United States presidential election as People's Party nominee.

 19 Sam Sheppard

Sam Sheppard
4
Famous As: Neurosurgeon
Birthdate: December 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
Died: April 6, 1970

 20 Russell M. Nelson

Russell M. Nelson.
4
Famous As: Religious Leader, Surgeon
Birthdate: September 9, 1924
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Salt Lake City, Utah

Russell M. Nelson is an American religious leader and the current president of the Mormon Church. A former surgeon, Nelson is credited with co-developing the heart-lung machine, which was used in the first-ever open-heart surgery. He became a respected heart surgeon and went on to serve as the president of the Utah Medical Association before becoming a religious leader.

 21 Connie Booth

Connie Booth.
6
Famous As: Actress, Psychotherapist
Birthdate: January 31, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Indianapolis
Connie Booth is best known as Polly Sherman from the series Fawlty Towers. She was also seen in the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the series Monty Python's Flying Circus. She also appeared on stage. After retiring from acting, she began working as a psychotherapist in London.

 22 Vivien Thomas

Vivien Thomas.
4
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: August 29, 1910
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New Iberia, Louisiana, United States
Died: November 26, 1985

Vivien Theodore Thomas was laboratory supervisor who never went to college; yet he rose above poverty and racism to develop a procedure for treating cyanotic heart disease. Initially billed as janitor, he began his career as assistant to surgeon Alfred Blalock first at Nashville University and later at Johns Hopkins, and in time discovered the life-saving technique, eventually becoming a teacher of operative techniques.

 23 Jeffrey R. MacDonald

Jeffrey R. MacDonald
4
Famous As: Military physician, Soldier
Birthdate: October 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: United States of America

 24 Philip Zimbardo

Philip Zimbardo
4
Famous As: Social psychologist, University teacher, Non-fiction writer, Psychologist
Birthdate: March 23, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City

Psychologist and Stanford professor Philip Zimbardo is best known for his Stanford prison experiment, which proved how prisoners get abusive due to situational factors. He is also known for his books The Lucifer Effect and The Time Paradox and has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Psychological Foundation.

 25 Howard Dean

Howard Dean
4
Famous As: Former Governor of Vermont
Birthdate: November 17, 1948
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: East Hampton, New York, USA

 26 John Money

John Money
4
Famous As: Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Physician, University teacher
Birthdate: July 8, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Morrinsville
Died: July 7, 2006

 27 Edgar Buchanan

Edgar Buchanan.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 20, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Humansville, Missouri
Died: April 4, 1979

 28 Joycelyn Elders

Joycelyn Elders
6
Famous As: Pediatrician
Birthdate: August 13, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Schaal, Arkansas, United States

The second female U.S. surgeon general, Joycelyn Elders is a renowned pediatrician and one of the first Black women to reach the pinnacle of the medical field in the U.S. She has been dragged into multiple controversies, one of them being a result of her support for sex education and masturbation.

 29 William Masters

William Masters
4
Famous As: Gynecologist
Birthdate: December 27, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: February 16, 2001

 30 Virginia Johnson

Virginia Johnson
4
Famous As: Sexologist
Birthdate: February 11, 1925
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Springfield, Missouri, United States
Died: July 24, 2013

 31 Annie Sprinkle

Annie Sprinkle
4
Famous As: Sexologist
Birthdate: July 23, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Annie Sprinkle is an American sexologist who supports sex work and healthcare. Sprinkle, who identifies herself as ecosexual, works as a feminist stripper, sex educator, pornographic actress, and sex-positive feminist. She is credited with popularizing lesbian pornography and the post-porn movement.

 32 Aaron T. Beck

Aaron T. Beck
3
Famous As: Psychiatrist, University teacher, Psychologist
Birthdate: July 18, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence

 33 Carol S. Dweck

Carol S. Dweck.
4
Famous As: Physiologists
Birthdate: October 17, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

Renowned psychologist Carol S. Dweck has taught at both Columbia and Harvard and is now a professor at Stanford. She is best known for her research on fixed mindset and growth mindset and has also penned popular books such as Self-theories: Their Role in Motivation, Personality and Development.

 34 Robert Leckie

Robert Leckie
6
Famous As: journalist, historian, writer
Birthdate: December 18, 1920
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: December 24, 2001

 35 J. Marion Sims

J. Marion Sims
4
Famous As: Surgeon
Birthdate: January 25, 1813
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lancaster County, South Carolina, United States
Died: November 13, 1883

Known as The Father of Modern Gynaecology, J. Marion Sims is remembered for developing a surgical method to deal with vesicovaginal fistula, a childbirth-related complication. However, since his experiments were conducted on Black slave-women, without anesthesia, they were later deemed unethical. He had also headed the American Gynecological Society.

 36 Benjamin Rush

Benjamin Rush.
4
Birthdate: January 4, 1746
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Died: April 19, 1813

 37 Tom Price

Tom Price
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, U.S.

 38 Mary Edwards Walker

Mary Edwards Walker.
4
Famous As: Surgeon, Feminist, Activist
Birthdate: November 26, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oswego
Died: February 21, 1919

Mary Edwards Walker, or Dr. Mary Walker, was the only female surgeon who served injured soldiers during the American Civil War. A dress reform supporter, she believed women should value comfort more than tradition when it came to clothes. She was also the first and only Medal of Honor winner.

 39 Jennifer Ashton

Jennifer Ashton
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: April 23, 1969
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: George Air Force Base

 40 Jon Kabat-Zinn

Jon Kabat-Zinn
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 5, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

 41 Joseph Mercola

Joseph Mercola
4
Famous As: Physician, Writer
Birthdate: July 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Cancer

 42 Paul Kalanithi

Paul Kalanithi
4
Famous As: Neurosurgeon
Birthdate: April 1, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York
Died: March 9, 2015

 43 William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams
4
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: September 17, 1883
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rutherford, New Jersey, United States
Died: March 4, 1963

 44 Joseph Warren

Joseph Warren.
4
Famous As: Physician, Military Leader
Birthdate: June 11, 1741
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 17, 1775

 45 Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner
4
Famous As: Teacher, Psychologist, University teacher, Neurologist
Birthdate: July 11, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Scranton

 46 Michael Burry

Michael Burry
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: June 19, 1971
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: San Jose, California, U.S.

Michael Burry had discovered his love for finance and investments while studying medicine. He eventually ditched his medical career to step into hedge-fund management. His story inspired Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short and the Academy Award-winning movie of the same name. He has an artificial eye since age 2.

 47 John Lilly

John Lilly
4
Famous As: Neuroscientist
Birthdate: January 6, 1915
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Died: September 30, 2001

Born to rich Catholic parents, John Lilly spent his childhood treating science as a hobby. While studying medicine, he performed gruelling medical experiments on himself. He later invented isolating floatation tanks, studied bottlenose dolphins, and researched on psychedelic drug-induced near-death experiences. He also explored yoga and human consciousness.

 48 Bill Frist

Bill Frist
6
Famous As: Political Leader
Birthdate: February 22, 1952
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nashville, Tennessee, USA

 49 Mark Hyman

Mark Hyman
4
Famous As: Physician
Birthdate: November 22, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: America

Mark Hyman is an American physician and writer. He is credited with founding The UltraWellness Center where he also serves as the medical director. Hyman has contributed as a columnist for The Huffington Post and has co-authored a New York Times best-selling book titled The Daniel Plan. Since 2004, he has been serving as Bill and Hillary Clinton's medical adviser.

 50 Robert Gallo

Robert Gallo
4
Famous As: Virologist, Oncologist, Physician, Immunologist
Birthdate: March 23, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Waterbury