Marilyn Gaston (born 1939) is an African-American pediatrician, most famous for her work with sickle cell disease (SCD). Despite being both poor and black in her time, she followed her dream of becoming a doctor and, after studying zoology at Miami University, and eventually went on to study at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1960. She was one of only six women, and the only black woman of her year.
After meeting a young patient with SCD, she became entrenched in learning all she could about this disease, working with the National Institutes for Health. In 1986 she published a study proving that long-term penicillin treatment given to SCD children can prevent septic infection. This resulted in legislation by Congress for early SCD screenings, so treatment can begin right away.
Gaston also worked to bring affordable health care to impoverished families, and was the first black woman to direct a public health service bureau (Bureau Of Primary Health Care in the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration). She has received many awards in her lifetime, including NMA's Lifetime Achievement Award, every honor awarded by the Public Health Service, and even has Marilyn Hughes Gaston Day celebrated each year in Cincinnati and Lincoln Heights, Ohio.
- "Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston". National Library of Medicine. Retrieved January 27, 2014.