Barbara Yarn, black female medical trailblazer, to speak at Pellissippi State

posted in: Common Book, Events | 0

She was one of the first African-American female graduates of Nashville’s Meharry Medical College. She was also one of the first women to serve as chief of staff at an American hospital.

Dr. Barbara Yarn, a native of Knoxville, comes to Pellissippi State Community College on April 11 to share her journey and speak about challenges in the medical field. The presentation is “A Trailblazer in Medicine: The Career of Dr. Barbara Yarn.” Members of the community are invited to the free event.

Part of the 2012-13 Common Book experience at Pellissippi State, the visit is tied to “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a New York Times bestseller by Rebecca Skloot. The nonfiction book is based on Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer whose cancerous cervical cells were taken in 1951 without her knowledge and who unwittingly played a role in biological research that continues today.

The book is being used as a discussion springboard for issues such as the birth of bioethics, the history of medical research involving African-Americans and the legal battles over informed consent. Pellissippi State’s Common Book is required reading for incoming freshmen and is the centerpiece for activities throughout the year.

The event is 12:30-2 p.m. at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in the Goins Building Auditorium. For additional information, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.