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The Changing Face of Medicine: Dr. Patricia StandTal Clarke

The National Library of Medicine has organized an exhibition honoring the lives and accomplishments of women doctors who are making a difference in the world of medicine. The exhibition, "Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians" is on display at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Tribal Connections will devote a space each month to featuring accomplished Native American women doctors from this exhibit.

Patricia StandTal Clarke, M.D., who is part Eastern Band Cherokee (Wolf Clan), is a founding diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine, an ordained Protestant minister, and a physician specializing in an integrative medical approach to treating patients. In her practice she interweaves prevention with treatment, working toward a full, happy, healthy life for individuals, families, and community.

Patricia Clarke is the daughter of Howard Clarke, an Appalachia-raised politician's son (Eastern Band Cherokee, Wolf Clan), and a Minnesota-raised banker's daughter (Norwegian). Upon graduation from high school, she was forbidden by her father to go to college to pursue her dream of being a physician, so instead she studied sociology. She then enrolled in seminary to "find myself," and was ordained as a protestant minister. While serving as pastor in several parishes, her family roots in Cherokee medicine became her focus. "The desire to merge my passion for humanitarian work with a love for medical science was channeled through my developing work withe the United Nations," says Dr. Clarke, who was appointed consultant to the leadership during the UN Decade for Women beginning in 1975. She gained expertise in women's and children's health care in Europe, the Middle East, Canada, Mexico, North and East Africa, and Central America.

To view the entire profile of Dr. StandTal Clarke, please visit

Photographic reproduction: From the National Library of Medicine Photograph Collections

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