Historic Homes of Denver: People Who Shaped Denver’s History, Justina Ford, Denver's First Woman Doctor

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Palm Realty BK3273458

historichomesofdenver.comJustina Ford the first woman doctor in Denver.  In 1902, that was great, but the fact that Justina Ford was a black woman and the daughter of a former slave makes it even a more interesting story!

Justina Ford was born in Illinois in 1871.  Her mother was a nurse in their Illinois neighborhood and supported her family by caring for former slaves.  It was her mother's medical practice that spurred Justina Ford into a career in medicine.  Justina Ford enrolled in Medical School at Chicago's Hering Medical School with the full support of her mother and family. 

While she was in school, Justina Ford met and married her husband the Reverend Dr. John Elijah Ford.  In 1899, Justina Ford graduated from medical school and one year later her husband, Reverand Ford, received an assignment at the Zion Baptist Church in Denver.  In 1902, Justina Ford followed her husband to Denver and continued her practice here.

From the time that Justina Ford came to Denver in 1902 and throughout the next several decades,
Census records show that she was Denver's only female doctor.  Initially, because she was a woman, and a black woman at that, Justina Ford was denied a medical license.  When she finally was given a license to practice medicine, Justina Ford was denied privileges at local Denver hospitals.  Being a determined woman, Justina Ford, practiced medicine at her office or in the homes of her patients.  During this period of time, Justina Ford practiced general medicine as well as obstetrics.

In order to serve a larger cross section of Denver's immigrant community, Justina Ford learned to speak seven different languages, allowing her to communicate more effectively with her patients.  At the end of her career, Justina Ford was known throughout Denver to patients from all races, religions and every economic background.

Justina Ford was known as very generous woman and never forced payment or denied care to her patients that could not pay her.  In fact, she supplied food, blankets and coal to some of her patients.

In 1985, Justina Ford was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.  In 1989, the Colorado Medical Society designated Justina Ford a medical pioneer.  Justina Ford's home was scheduled to be demolished, but, in 1981 it was moved to its current location at 3099 California Street where today it is the home of the Black American West Museum & Heritage Center.

Dr. Justina Ford died in 1952, in Denver.  During her 50 years of practicing medicine, Justina Ford delivered over 7,000 babies in Denver!  Justina Ford left behind a strong, wonderful legacy that is alive today!     

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Posted By: Kerry Klun - 321-626-5868

Palm Realty



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