Alice Ball

Developed the first effective treatment for leprosy

A Seattle native, Alice Ball earned two bachelor’s degrees in four years at the University of Washington – pharmaceutical chemistry and the science of pharmacy. She then became the first African American student to receive a master’s degree from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. There, Ball discovered that leprosy could be treated by injecting patients with a water-soluble form of oil from the chaulmoogra fruit’s seeds. The treatment, known as the Ball Method, was one of the primary treatments for leprosy for thirty years, until the introduction of antibiotics in the 1940s.