Vanderbilt hospital road renamed for Black surgery pioneer

Vanderbilt Medical
Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-05 18:45:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A road at Vanderbilt University Medical Center is now named for a Black pioneer in cardiac surgery, instead of the Confederacy-tied Dixie Place.

The hospital says Vivien Thomas Way arose from discussions among Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students and college mentors about change during the civil unrest over the death of George Floyd.

After graduating high school, Thomas landed a Vanderbilt lab assistant job with Dr. Alfred Blalock in 1930 and began postdoctoral research work after quickly mastering complex surgical techniques and research.

Blalock became Johns Hopkins' chief surgeon in 1941 and insisted Thomas accompany him. Officials in Nashville commemorated the road name change during an event Monday.