Dr. Helen Octavia Dickens Display

Dr. Helen Dickens didn’t set out to be an activist, but her life’s work significantly improved the health and lives of women, particularly African American women. In 1946, Dickens became the city’s first African American woman to receive board certification from the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She was known for her trailblazing contributions to family planning, teen pregnancy and sexual health issues within the Black community. 

A newly installed display in Stemmler Hall at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital honors Dickens with a fascinating timeline of her work. Written and curated by Carol Perloff and designed by CG, the display highlights her life and dedication to women’s medicine and the Black community of West Philadelphia. CG’s design also includes a painted portrait of Dickens, and quotes from colleagues, her daughter, and leaders in the medical field today who have been influenced by her legacy. 


Interpretive planning and design