Helen E. Nash, M.D.
Dr. Helen Nash spent her life advocating for and mentoring children and families in the City of St. Louis, serving as pediatrician to three generations of St. Louisans. She also trained, mentored, and inspired countless medical personnel over her storied career. Dr. Nash’s enthusiasm for learning and her strong belief in equality are reflected in her desire to create a scholarship to help students receive a college education.
On October 4, 2013, the first anniversary of her death, Dr. Nash’s nieces, Lauren Nash Ming and Dr. Alison Nash, finalized an endowment commitment to The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis. The Helen E. Nash, M.D. Educational Trust Fund Scholarship will provide collegiate educational opportunity in the form of renewable scholarships to eligible students. As available, one or two graduating seniors from the City of St. Louis, who have demonstrated financial need and excelled academically, will be selected as the Helen E. Nash, M.D. Scholars. They will receive scholarships that will help fund tuition and expenses at four-year colleges or universities in Missouri.
Dr. Nash broke through gender and racial barriers during her career. After graduating from Spelman College in 1941, she was one of very few women attending Meharry Medical College in 1945. Upon completion of her pediatric residency at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in 1949, Dr. Nash was one of only four African-American physicians (and the only woman among them) invited to join the Washington University School of Medicine faculty, as well as the first African-American asked to join the St. Louis Children’s Hospital staff. An energetic, ambitious, and highly committed physician, Dr. Nash also started her private practice in 1949, while remaining on staff at Homer G. Phillips Hospital, serving as pediatric supervisor and associate director of pediatrics from 1950 to 1964. She was president of Children’s Hospital attending staff from 1977 to 1979. Dr. Nash retired from private practice and her faculty position in 1993. She then served as dean of minority affairs for Washington University School of Medicine from 1994 to 1996.
Helen Nash followed in her father, Dr. Homer E. Nash, Sr.’s footsteps in pursuing a medical career. He was a general practitioner in Atlanta. Her younger brother, Dr. Homer E. Nash, Jr., and her niece, Dr. Alison Nash, followed Helen into pediatrics. Dr. Alison Nash said of her aunt, “She set very high standards for herself and the people around her. Consequently, she was very clear that she not only wanted to practice medicine, she also wanted access to cutting edge research, and to make an impact on the future of medicine by teaching and mentoring new physicians. Helen refused to let others marginalize her, even when that meant facing extreme prejudice and bigotry. She loved her patients and pushed institutions to change to improve children’s health and lives.”