Engineer and Ophthalmologist
After nearly five decades, the National Investors Hall of Fame (NIHF) announced last September that it will finally induct two black women into the nonprofit organization’s ranks. Engineer Marian Croak and the late ophthalmologist Dr. Patricia Bath, along with 25 other honorees, will be celebrated and inducted into the NIHF this May.
Tech pioneer Croak, who currently works as a vice president at Google leading the Research Center for Responsible AI and Human Centered Technology, is being honored for her work on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)—technology that has become essential for remote work and video conferencing. In addition to having more than 200 patents to her name, Croak also created the “text-to-donate” system for charitable donations, which raised $130,000 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and $43 million in the wake of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.
As the first Black female physician to receive a medical patent, Bath, who passed away from cancer-related complications in 2019, was used to making history throughout her lifetime with a long list of “firsts” accompanying her name. She will join the Hall of Fame’s upcoming class of 22 for her creation of the Laserphaco Probe, an improved device and technique to remove cataracts with lasers. The minimally invasive surgical procedure was groundbreaking because it performs all steps of cataract removal—from making the incision and destroying the lens to vacuuming out fractured pieces. In addition, Bath was one of the first people to document the fact that Black patients had double the rate of glaucoma, leading her to cofound the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, as well as the Ophthalmic Assistant Training Program at UCLA.