Dr. Groesbeck Parham

"So many women across the globe, especially those who live in developing nations, wonder if anyone knows or cares about their daily struggles. They struggle to provide food for their families and to keep them healthy; they struggle for their own safety; they struggle with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other illnesses. These women need someone’s attention and they need someone’s help -- and as long as I am able, they will have mine.”

 

When Groesbeck Parham was a teen growing up in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1960's, he marched with the Civil Rights Movement’s “children’s brigade” to protest racial apartheid. As a student at Oberlin College he helped establish one of the nation’s first African-American studies programs – and spent a summer as a bodyguard for rock star Jimi Hendrix. In the 1970s, as a labor union organizer in Birmngham, Alabama, he championed the rights of sanitation and iron workers to join trade unions.

 

But of all his causes and commitments, none gripped Parham more powerfully than his desire to help disadvantaged African women – women like those in the community of his Alabama childhood. “Seeing these courageous, loving women care for everybody else, and then lack quality medical care themselves, planted a desire that never left me,” he says. So Parham earned his M.D. degree, specialized in obstetrics/gynecology and gynecologic oncology – and has spent his entire career battling two diseases that are the hellhounds of women in impoverished nations: cancer and AIDS. 

 

Today, Dr. Parham lives and works in Zambia – where he teaches healthcare professionals from across Africa how to implement cervical cancer prevention and treatment programs with limited resources, and where his pioneering cervical cancer prevention program has helped hundreds of thousands of women avoid cervical cancer, the number one cause of cancer-related death in Africa.