DREW, CHARLES R. Dr. Charles R. Drew is often referred to as the father of blood plasma and blood banks. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1904, Drew was educated at Dunbar High School
in Washington and at Amherst College (B.S., 1926) before receiving his M.D. degree from McGill University (Montreal) in 1933. Following his internship at Montreal General Hospital, he returned to the United States to become an instructor in pathology at Howard University. Aided by a Rockefeller grant, Drew attended the Columbia Medical Center in New York City for advanced training between 1938-40. It was during this period that he discovered a number of techniques which added immeasurably to the then current medical knowledge concerning the separation and preservation of blood. As a result of his research and discoveries, Drew was called upon to establish and direct the British Blood Bank in 1940. In the following year, he was appointed director of the American Red Cross blood donor project, a position he resigned when the Red Cross refused to discontinue the practice of separating African American and white blood in the blood banks. Returning to Howard, Drew became a full professor of surgery and chairman of the Department of Surgery in the College of Medicine, a position he held until his death in an automobile accident in 1950.