Hilda Hutcherson

Poor Black girls from Tuskegee, Ala., don’t grow up to become physicians is what some teachers and counselors told Dr. Hilda Hutcherson when she shared her childhood dream. Today, Hutcherson is not only a clinical professor but dean of diversity and minority affairs at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. The practicing ob-gyn is credited with boosting lagging minority enrollment at the college from 8 percent in 2002 to more than 20 percent over a three-year period. Getting there, she says, “took pounding the pavement, going to countless recruitment fairs, and reaching out to high school students.” Hutcherson also has made “empowering women to take better care of themselves and their daughters” her mission beyond the classroom. Hutcherson earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a medical degree from Harvard Medical School.