Dr. Asa Greenwood Yancey was the first black faculty member at Emory University’s medical school. In the early 1940’s, Dr. Yancey studied at Freedmen’s Hospital at Howard University under Dr. Charles Drew, an African American surgeon who created the blood bank concept.
Dr. Yancey was born in Atlanta, Ga. and attended Booker T. Washington High School. The class valedictorian attended Morehouse College then University of Michigan to obtain his M.D. Dr. Yancey then served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as First Lieutenant.
Dr.Yancey left the army to work as chief of surgery at Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital in 1948. The esteemed physician later integrated the faculty at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and was named Medical Director of Grady’s Hughes Spalding Pavilion in 1958. Only six years later, Dr. Yancey joined the faculty at Emory Medical School as the first black chief of surgery. While working at Emory he not only created the hospital’s first cardiology center but he also devoted himself to the creation of a program for aspiring black doctors.
Dr. Yancey served on the Atlanta School Board for 10 years and later as associate dean at Emory University Medical School where he would be named Professor Emeritus. He retired in 1989.
In his personal life, Dr. Yancey and his wife Carolyn raised four children: Arthur Yancey II, M.D., Caren Yancey-Covington (deceased), Carolyn Yancey, M.D. and Asa G. Yancey Jr., M.D. Three of the four children became physicians.
Dr. Asa Yancey passed away on Saturday, March 9, 2013. He was 96 years old. His legacy is left in his autobiography entitled “Interpositionalification: What the Negro May Expect.”