Ernest Mae McCarroll was born in Birmingham, Alabama to Ernest and Mary McCarroll. She had 5 other siblings as well. She acquired her early education from the public school system in Birmingham and then went on to complete her secondary training at Talladega College which encompassed a high school department. In 1917, she completed her A.B. Then after taking required chemistry and physics courses at Fisk University she entered Woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she was awarded her M.D. in 1925.
After doing her internship at Kansas City, General Hospital No. 2, Kansas City, Missouri she then entered general practice in Philadelphia for a short period of time. After getting married in 1929, she moved to Newark, New Jersey where she continued to practice medicine. She made it her life’s journey to be active inn various civic and community affairs and lead the crusade initiative in Newark to stamp out venereal disease in the early days of the New Deal of then President Franklin D. Roosevelt when Dr. Thomas Parran was Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service.
As a life learner, Dr. McCarroll continued her educational journey and received her M.S.P.H. from the College of Physicians of Columbia University in 1939. Then she went on to pursue post graduate work at the Harvard School of Public Health. In 1946, she became the first African American physician to be appointed to the staff of the Newark City Hospital. After which in 1953, she was named Deputy Health Officer for the city of Newark. She was also afforded courtesy privileges at the Beth Isreal Hospital of Newark during a time when many hospitals still functioned under the premise of “Separate but Equal” phenomenon as a standard practice.
Dr. McCarroll originally became a member of the National Medical Association in 1929. Since that time she has held various positions of leadership which included being a member of the Board of Trustees and chairing committees such as the General Practitioner of the Year Award. She also worked tireless in the NMA on both a local and state level as the past president of the New Jersey Medical Society and the New Jersey State Medical Association. Additionally, while serving in the NMA she used her time, talents and treasures maintaining active memberships in various civic and community-wide organizations.
- First Lady of the National Medical Association