From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Mitchell, Janet Louise

(born: March 15, 1950  -  died: September 1, 2019) 

Dr. Janet Louise Mitchell was nationally known for her advances in perinatal HIV/AIDS treatment. She is remembered and appreciated for her tireless advocacy for women with perinatal drug addition, uninsured and HIV-positive patients, the inclusion of minority women in AIDS research, and she successfully lobbied for the National Institute of Health to include Black women in drug trials for HIV/AIDS in pregnant women. In 1989, she was an expert witness called to testify before the U.S. Congress about children and HIV infection. 

Dr. Mitchell was a graduate of Henry Clay High School in Lexington, KY, and a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Howard University College of Medicine, and Harvard University School of Public Health. In 1988, Dr. Mitchell was head of obstetrics and gynecology at Harlem Hospital Center in New York. In 1996, she left that position to become the Director of Outreach, Chief of Obstetrics, and the Residency Director in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in New York. Dr. Mitchell also served on the New York State AIDS Advisory Council.

She was born in Lexington, KY, the daughter of Richard O. and Minnie Smith Mitchell. In 1993, Dr. Mitchell visited Lexington and was the keynote speaker at the Black Achievers Banquet. She was also named a Kentucky Colonel. 

At the age of 57, Dr. Mitchell was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. Her family came to her assistance, but not before she had lost her home and encountered some financial problems. Dr. Mitchell was 69 years old when she died in Ft. Collins, CO, in 2019. 

For more see the Janet L. Mitchell Wikipedia page; see the Dr. Janet L. Mitchell biography at the Changing the Face of Medicine website by the National Institute of Health (NIH); Children and HIV InfectionHearings Before the Human Resources and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee of the Committee on Government Operations, House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, First Session, February 22 and 23, 1989, Volume 4; Linda Hosek, "Women, kids need AIDS care," Star-Bulletin (Hawaii), 03/30/1991, p.A10; "Harlem doctor named Kentucky Colonel, 1993 Black Special Achiever," Lexington Herald-Leader, 02/07/1993, p.B2; Tammie Smith, "Expert: Women get poor HIV care," The Daily Progress (Virginia), 04/02/2000, p.B1; David Scott and Roxanna Sherwood, "Adding insult to injury: Alzheimer's patient loses home," ABC News Nightline, 07/05/2007 (text online); Dr. Janet Louise Mitchell in the Obituaries of the Windsor Beacon, 11/24/2019, p.W11; see the Obituary for Janet Louise Mitchell, M.D. at the Evergreen Memory Gardens website [Published in The Coloradoan from Nov. 20 to Nov. 24, 2019].

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Mitchell, Janet Louise,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 30, 2023, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/300004817.

Last modified: 2023-08-20 19:50:59