A Pioneer in Race and Gender

Dr. Frances J. Bonner was the first female African American physician to train on a service at Massachusetts General Hospital and then the first to join the hospital's faculty in the Department of Psychiatry. She spent 50 years at Mass General and is remembered today as a pioneer in crossing both racial and gender barriers in medicine.

Dr. Bonner came to Mass General in 1949 to conduct research on hysteria after completing her neurology training at Boston City Hospital (now a part of Boston Medical Center). She later did neurobiological studies and went on to co-found the Psychoanalytic Institute of New England.

Dr. Bonner’s legacy lives on in the Department of Psychiatry at Mass General. In 2010 the Frances J. Bonner, MD Award was established to promote diversity and inclusion in the psychiatric community. The award is sponsored each year by the department’s Center for Diversity to recognize an individual who has overcome adversity and made significant contributions to the field of mental health and the care of minority communities.

Learn more about Dr. Bonner’s legacy and recipients of her namesake award on the Department of Psychiatry's Center for Diversity website.