KSUCPM Remembers Mildred K. Dixon, DPM; a Trailblazer for Women, Minorities, and her Profession
Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine (KSUCPM) is deeply saddened by the passing of its long celebrated and adored alumna and Hall of Fame Member, Mildred K. Dixon, DPM. Dr. Dixon passed away peacefully at home on November 2, 2018 at the age of 102. The story of Mildred Dixon’s life is one that changed the world of podiatric medicine for minority women in the United States, as well as for the entirety of the podiatric medical community. Dr. Dixon will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved her, but her legacy will live on to shape, support and encourage KSUCPM students for years to come.
Dr. Dixon began her career in the medical community following her graduation from dental nursing school. When her employer, a dentist in Montlcair, NJ saw something special in her, he encouraged her to continue her medical studies, introducing her to local chiropodist (now called a podiatrist), Dr. Helen Hawthorn. Dr. Hawthorn was a graduate of the Ohio College of Chiropody (OCC, now KSUCPM), and emboldened Mildred to apply to OCC, where she was accepted, and graduated in 1944, during the onset of World War II.
Upon graduation, Dr. Dixon journeyed to south Tuskegee, AL, where she would meet her husband, James O. Dixon, a faculty member at Tuskegee University. Though she would face many obstacles as a female African-American in the Deep South during a time of rampant segregation and discrimination, Dr. Dixon persisted. Upon being denied access to the Alabama Association of Chiropodists (AAC), in 1949 she petitioned the National Association of Chiropodists (NAC), to which she was granted lifetime membership, allowing her to practice podiatry in the state of Alabama.
While working for her equal rights, Dr. Dixon was simultaneously building her career. In 1956, she was appointed as the first full-time female, African-American podiatrist at the Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital, created the first podiatric residency in the state of Alabama, and established podiatry clinics at V.A. hospitals throughout the state of Alabama.
In April 2016, to honor all Dr. Dixon had accomplished, she and her daughter Denise Dixon created The Dr. Mildred Dixon Endowed Scholarship for Podiatric Medicine. Her hope was that this scholarship would not only help defray some of the costs for deserving podiatry students and help support KSUCPM, but that it would remind each recipient of the journey of the podiatric profession: her lifelong passion.
Mildred Dixon was a long-time supporter of KSUCPM, and was inducted into its Hall of Fame Society in 2008. She will forever be a valued and well-respected member of the KSUCPM community, where her story of encouragement and support will live on, thanks to her passion for progression and The Dr. Mildred Dixon Endowed Scholarship for Podiatric Medicine