The Women in Medicine Exhibit Series Features LaRae Kemp, MD

Dr LaRae Kemp; black woman wearing a red turtleneck with a beaded necklace
Written by
Wendy Kisicki
Lori Micho
Tina Drew

As part of the rotating ‘Nancy Nelson - Women in Medicine’ exhibit series, which highlights significant women in healthcare and medicine, the Strauss Health Sciences Library proudly presents its latest exhibit honoring the late Dr. LaRae Kemp.

Dr. Kemp earned her B.S. degree from the University of Colorado and went on to achieve the distinction of being the first African American woman to earn a medical degree from the CU School of Medicine.

Early in her career, she worked for the U.S. Foreign Service within the State Department, serving as the Regional Medical Officer for West Africa, the Middle East, Russia, and the Caribbean. She also made history by becoming the first African American Assistant Secretary of State for Health Affairs as well as the first woman to lead the State Department Medical Corps.

Some of the more notable moments in Dr. Kemp’s illustrious career included providing care to Americans during the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut, assisting with medical evacuations in active war zones, and providing support during hostage situations in the Middle East. She even received a Pentagon Medal of Honor for saving the life of a General and flying across a war zone.

In the later part of her career, LaRae transitioned to working for the United States Postal Service, where she held positions as an associate and later as a senior area medical director overseeing the Southeast regional occupational medical program.

After retiring, Dr. Kemp settled in Northern Texas, where she continued to contribute through volunteer work and participation in medical missions abroad. Additionally, she authored a book titled ‘The Still Small Voice,’ recounting her remarkable life and personal spiritual journey.

The exhibit is located on the third floor of the Strauss Library adjacent to the Tower Room. For more information about this exhibit, please contact Lori Micho by email at: