Dr. Sheldon Korones | Facing History & Ourselves

Dr. Sheldon Korones

Learn about Dr. Sheldon Korones, founder of one of the oldest and largest neonatal intensive care units in the United States.
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  • Human & Civil Rights

Dr. Sheldon Korones

Dr. Sheldon Korones

"Protecting the Most Vulnerable"

Dr. Sheldon B. Korones is responsible for founding one of the oldest and largest national neonatal intensive care units in the United States. In 1968 he opened the Regional Medical Center’s Newborn center to ensure that no infants suffer or die because their families could not afford healthcare. At a time when Memphis had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation—with a disproportionate impact on African Americans and the economically disadvantaged—Dr. Korones’ efforts were critical to the community. He spent hours away from his private practice during the Center’s early years before dedicating himself full-time.

Under his leadership, the Regional Medical Center’s intensive care unit staff treated more than 45,000 premature or critically ill babies. His vision saved lives beyond Memphis city lines and across color lines. He installed a portable neonatal intensive care unit in a bus so doctors could travel to small towns outside Memphis and increase the odds of rescuing struggling babies.

Dr. Korones was also one of the first area doctors to integrate his private waiting room. At a time when segregation was the norm in nearly all walks of life, he had a vision for a better, more tolerant Memphis. His commitment to life, of all races, ages, and economic capacities, lives on through the work of Newborn Center and the many lives he saved.

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