Dr. Michael Banfield
Born in Maryland in 1926, Dr. Michael Banfield spent much of his childhood in Ohio and New Jersey. His father, an ordained minister, and mother emigrated from Barbados; he had two brothers and a sister. When as a young boy Dr. Banfield expressed an interest in becoming a doctor, his parents encouraged him in his studies. They believed that education was the key to success and wanted all of their children to go to college.
Dr. Banfield spent one year at Oakwood College in Alabama before entering the service in 1945. After completing his military service, he spent one year at Temple University and then transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C. to complete his undergraduate studies. His older brother, Edison, who had remained in the service longer, followed Michael to Howard. Both brothers chose Howard University for medical school, with Michael finishing in 1953 and Edison one year later.
Dr. Michael Banfield completed a rotating internship, which allowed him to spend time in each department, at Los Angeles County Hospital. Shortly before he completed his internship, Dr. Banfield received a phone call from a pharmacist in Wharton, Texas, who hoped to lure a new doctor to the small town because its only black physician had died the year before. Dr. Banfield agreed, and spent one year in a rural practice, where like doctors from the early 1900s, he made house calls to deliver babies, treated every possible kind of ailment, and often received payment in the form of produce.
The next year, Dr. Banfield left Wharton and established his medical practice one block from Houston Negro Hospital in the city’s Third Ward. Upon his arrival, he applied for admission in the Harris County Medical Society. He acquired the necessary references from two white physicians who were society members, but at the last minute, perhaps due to pressure, one reference backed out. Soon thereafter, however, another society member stepped forward to provide the second reference. Dr. Banfield also joined the Houston Medical Forum at its inception in 1958.
In 1960, Dr. Michael Benfield’s brother Edison joined him in Houston. Michael Banfield received his board certification in family medicine in 1980. In 1969, family medicine was first recognized as a specialty for which board certification is available. It is the twentieth specialty so recognized. Dr. Michael Banfield practiced in Houston for almost forty years before retiring in 1994.
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