AZ Speaks - “Dr. Pearl Tang: Path Breaker in Public Health” by Dr. Mary Melcher

From May 22, 2024 11:00 am until May 22, 2024 12:00 pm

In 1960, Dr. Pearl Mao Tang became chief of the Maricopa County Bureau of Maternal and Child Health. A Chinese American, who had fought to obtain a medical license in Arizona, Tang was instrumental in lowering the infant mortality rate in the state’s most populous county. Working in the Phoenix metropolitan area and rural Maricopa Country, Dr. Tang dedicated her career to improving the health of mothers and children. Her work, and that of public health nurses, aided families in migrant farm camps and impoverished urban areas. Dr. Tang became a very effective leader in public health, and her work impacted thousands of Arizonans. This presentation explores Tang’s career, as well as historical conditions in Arizona which made her work so vital and needed.

This series is held in City of Surprise Council Chambers – 16000 N. Civic Center Plz.

Events are free, but registration is required at

This program is made possible by Arizona Humanities

About the Speaker

Dr. Mary Melcher, public historian, completed her Ph.D. in American history at Arizona State University in 1994, with fields in the twentieth century, women’s history, and the West. Dr. Melcher has worked as a curator in various museums and as a public history consultant. She was the lead historian for the Arizona Women’s Heritage Trail, a public history project combining women’s history with interpretation of historic sites. Dr. Melcher has conducted over 150 oral histories and published numerous articles in historical journals. She has a strong interest in women’s history in relation to reproduction. In 2012, she published Pregnancy, Motherhood and Choice in Twentieth Century Arizona with the University of Arizona Press.