Myra Adele Logan (1908–1977) was an African American physician, surgeon and anatomist. She was the first woman to perform open heart surgery and the first African American woman elected a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Myra Adele Logan was born in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1908 to Warren and Adella Hunt Logan. She was the eighth and youngest child. Her mother was college-educated and involved in the suffrage and health care movements. Her father was treasurer and trustee of Tuskegee Institute. After graduating with honors from Tuskegee High School, she attended Atlanta University and graduated as valedictorian of her class in 1927. She then moved to New York and attended Columbia University where she earned her M.S. degree in psychology. She worked for the YWCA in Connecticut before opting for a career in medicine. Logan was the first person to receive the Walter Gray Crump Scholarship for Young Women, a four-year, $10,000 scholarship that allowed her to attend New York Medical College. She graduated in 1933. She interned and did her residency in surgery at the Harlem Hospital in New York.
Logan married painter Charles Alston on April 8, 1944. They met while he was working on a mural project at the Harlem Hospital, where Logan was a medical intern at the time; Logan served as a model for Alston's Modern Medicine, in which she appears as a nurse holding a baby.
Logan became an associate surgeon at Harlem Hospital, where she spent the majority of her medical career. She was also a visiting surgeon at Sydenham Hospital and maintained a private practice. In 1943, she became the first woman to perform open heart surgery in the ninth operation of its kind. She developed her specialty in children's heart surgery. She also worked to develop antibiotics, including Aureomycin. In 1951, Logan was elected a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and was the first African American woman to become a member of this group. During the 1960s, she researched the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. She developed X-ray processes that could more accurately detect differences in tissue density, allowing tumors to be discovered earlier. She was published in a number of medical journals and was one of the first black women to be elected to the American College of Surgeons.
Logan was a founding partner and treasurer of the Upper Manhattan Medical Group of the Health Insurance Plan, one of the first group practices in the United States. She also worked with the NAACP's Health Committee, the New York State Fair Employment Practices Committee, the National Cancer Committee, and Planned Parenthood. She was a member of the New York State Commission on Discrimination during Governor Thomas E. Dewey's administration. In 1944 she resigned from the commission with seven other members after Dewey shelved anti-discrimination legislation they had drafted.
Logan was also an accomplished classical pianist. She retired in 1970 and later served on the New York State Workmen's Compensation Board. She died of lung cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital on January 13, 1977.