image of Dr. Drew

Dr. Charles Drew was born in 1904 in Washington D.C. Dr. Drew developed a method for processing and preserving blood plasma or blood without cells. Plasma lasts much longer than whole blood, making it possible to be stored or "banked" for longer periods of time. He discovered that the plasma could be dried and then reconstituted when needed. His research served as the basis of his doctorate thesis, "Banked Blood" and he received his doctorate degree in 1940. He invented blood banks and bloodmobiles. Dr. Drew became the first African American to earn this degree from Columbia. The U.S. postal service issued a stamp in his honor as part of the Great American series in 1981.