Associate Dean, Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons
New York City

As a girl in Tuskegee, Ala., Hilda Hutcherson M.D., often heard, even from teachers, that she would never realize her dream of becoming a physician. She clung to her dream, nevertheless, buttressed by the supportive words of her parents. She graduated from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in human biology and subsequently from Harvard Medical School, and completed a medicine internship at the University of California in San Francisco and a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center. In 1985, she began to practice medicine.

Hutcherson has held several positions at Columbia University Medical Center and currently serves as a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and associate dean for diversity and minority affairs. She is credited with increasing Columbia’s minority enrollment to more than 20 percent from just 8 percent in three years, and she remains a mentor to many of the students she encouraged to apply to the medical school. She learned to overcome obstacles through hard lessons, she says, and wanted to offer students an environment where their success was encouraged and supported. She devotes time to empowerment and education even beyond Columbia, often lecturing high-school students about sexual health and the importance of advancing their education. “When you can raise the educational level of one person you are not only affecting one person but a whole family,” she says.

Hutcherson’s monthly sexual-health columns in Essence and Redbook magazines are in keeping with her mission to “empower women to take better care of themselves and their daughters.”  The same is true of the books she has authored: Having Your Baby: A Guide for African American Women, What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex and Pleasure: A Woman’s Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve.

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